Podcasts

Founders, Dr Erin O’Neill and Dr Richard Brown, chat about the history of Prospect Farm Accommodation.

Transcript
Erin

A little bit of history about Prospect Farm.

I’m Erin O’Neill.

Richard

And I’m Richard Brown.

Erin

Welcome to our Podcast.

OK Richard, tell us about Prospect Farm. How did we get here?

Richard

Well, in 2010 we decided to offer respite from our farm. Our farm is called Prospect Farm. That was named after one of the first scenes in Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth’s great rendition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. The two lads are riding along and they’re looking at this rolling English countryside and one says to the other, “It’s a fair prospect” and we look ironically on our little block of land at the Lantana and all the trees on the road and so we called it “A Fair Prospect”, so it became Prospect Farm in honour of Jennifer and Col.

Erin

It was a good way to start and who could possibly forget particular scene of Mr. Darcey emerging out of the pond. But anyway put that one out of the way for the moment…

Richard

I’ve forgotten it.

Erin

Oh, have you, how convenient. [laugh]

So we got the respite up and running. We did that for many years and we were very successful with that and I personally thing, well, we know that it was in large part due to the fact that people had a bit of space to themselves because it was land. The house itself is two stories with lots of verandas.

What else do you think made the difference?

Richard

I think just being in the country. Being away from town just that little bit to make it like it’s a break, make it different for people. A lot of people have not been near a horse or seen a cow or seen a kangaroo or wallaby jump across grass and all that was provided by our respite service, but, we’re 15 minutes from everything else.

We were just outside of Raymond Terrace at that stage and you could go to the doctors, the chemists, the pictures, the swimming pool. Whatever you wanted to do. So we’re in a unique position here so that’s what gave us a big strength in the way we offered our respite services for many years.

Erin

It also gave us a big advantage because we were offering respite in our own home we became very good at dealing with a whole range of different personalities that arrived, often on spec where we had very little knowledge of who we were getting. So it meant that we got very good at adjusting ourselves, working out what were the most important things that helped people to have a good time.

I have to say one of the things I think was most important was the animals. We had the three dogs, two horses which then became three horses, a range of chickens and so people could get involved with the farm life to varying degrees. Some people weren’t that interested, they were more interested in their own entertainment and others that really enjoyed interacting with the animals and getting out and moving about.

Richard

Yes, that’s right. We did a lot of work. You and I, we worked out that if we had of done 38 hour weeks, in that 7 years we both clocked up about 26 years each of work. We learnt a lot and we learnt to be very flexible, as you say, and be a rapid responding group. This has held us in great stead for our next big step which was into Prospect Farm Accommodation just 2 years ago in 2017.

Erin

Yes, that came about as we had a few parents who had sent their children to us on respite asked if we going to do accommodation…

Richard

Adult children…

Erin

Adult children that is, yes. They asked if we were going to do accommodation. They were very comfortable with sending their family members to us. And also because it was very different kind of environment because in town it doesn’t always suit, particularly in more crowded environments, while they may have some advantages, it doesn’t always suit people who need a bit more space and need a bit more quiet and less density.

Richard

That’s right. It’s always worked here for people who do like a bit of space. We’ve now got houses not only in the countryside in the hinterland, but also in suburbia. We know that people sometimes don’t want to live out in the quite, want to live in the busy part of town, so we provide that as well. We’ve expanded our services from farm based respite now to city, urban, rural, regional, long term accommodation.

Erin

So the upshot is, if you needed a home, then we can work out a way of providing a home in the situation you want….

Richard

In all areas….

Erin

In all areas.

Richard

That’s what I think is one of our great skills and great assets. The other thing that we mentioned earlier, is that all those years of doing almost emergency respite at times, we can turn on a five cent piece. Get things organised very, very quickly and thats a real advantage sometimes when people are in a crisis and need long term accommodation very quickly.

Erin

Well that’s the advantage we have over the big organisations as well. Because we are small, we are nimble, we work very quickly. We have for example, very often got a house up and running on the basis of one Participant rather than waiting until they’ve got 3 or 4 Participants, so that someone can be found a place a quickly as possible.

Occasionally we also have a couple of vacancies of various housing types. But that’s OK because we’re looking to make sure that someone fits into the best possible housing situation for them.

Richard

That’s right. We’ve come a long way. We’ve taken the skills that we’ve picked up and the experience we’ve picked up in respite and moved it into long term accommodation and it’s working very well.

Erin

Excellent. Thank you.

Richard

Thank you Erin.

Thanks for listening. If you need any more information go to Prospect Farm [website] [https://prospectfarm.com.au] where we’ve got all sorts of resources to look at and listen to.

Until next time, thanks for listening and have a good day.