Southern Stay Disability Services formed

TEAM: CAPTION: Bryan Roberts (STAY president), Daniel Pearson (business manager), Maree Sandford (STAY CEO), Jacob Taylor (Southern Way treasurer and new entity president), Georgia Barling (Southern Way resident), Paul Lougheed (Southern Way CEO), Michael Hilder (Southern Way resident), Russell Worland (Southern Way president) and Michael Tudball (STAY board member).
TEAM: CAPTION: Bryan Roberts (STAY president), Daniel Pearson (business manager), Maree Sandford (STAY CEO), Jacob Taylor (Southern Way treasurer and new entity president), Georgia Barling (Southern Way resident), Paul Lougheed (Southern Way CEO), Michael Hilder (Southern Way resident), Russell Worland (Southern Way president) and Michael Tudball (STAY board member).

CONSUMER Affairs Victoria has signed off on a merger of two south-west disability service providers.

Southern Way and STAY have joined to form Southern Stay Disability Services.

Members of STAY and Southern Way previously voted unanimously in favour of merging the incorporated associations into a new entity.

Warrnambool-based Southern Way and Hamilton-based STAY will retain their existing business names and have assured clients it will be business as usual with all services continuing.

STAY CEO Maree Sandford, who is set to retire, said the merger was an exciting opportunity that was in the best interests of people supported by the agencies.

“We have been working towards this outcome for two years after identifying benefits and savings that could result from amalgamating the two bodies,” Ms Sandford said.

Southern Way chief executive officer Paul Lougheed, who will take over as CEO of Southern Stay, said the merger was a natural alliance to create a stronger entity to benefit all Warrnambool and Hamilton clients.

“Both agencies share a similar mission to provide quality service, inclusive opportunities and positive outcomes for our clients which makes this merger a natural fit,” he said.

A new board has been formed to oversee Southern Stay Disability Services, with four members from each of the previous boards. The new board members are Jacob Taylor (president), Bryan Roberts (vice president), Richard Stone (treasurer), Russell Worland (secretary), Keith Haines, Sheryl Kavanagh, Kathryn Emeny and Michael Tudball.

Mr Lougheed said there would be no staff changes and the merger would strengthen the disability services

delivered in the Warrnambool and Hamilton districts.

“The only change our clients will see is a stronger delivery of disability services,” he said.

Southern Way and STAY are non-government, not-for-profit, charitable organisations that deliver support, accommodation, life-skills training and community access to people with disabilities.

STAY has provided services in the Hamilton region for the past 30 years and Southern Way has been operating in Warrnambool and district since 1990.

Southern Way and STAY are registered NDIS service providers.