Founded in 1921, Rannerdale Veterans' Care is a not-for-profit organisation that provides care for the broader veteran community, both military and civilian emergency services. The care extends to servicemen, women, and their dependents, as well as having a growing role in providing home care support into the community.
There are many challenges that residential care facilities such as Rannerdale face; ongoing funding challenges, building maintenance, human resources, financial management, health, safety and quality of care are just a few. It requires a strong team, which is what the Rannerdale Board of Directors were looking for when they appointed Charmaine Diver to General Manager in September 2018.
A New Zealand Registered Nurse with over 20 years’ experience, Charmaine has been involved in managing residential care facilities for the majority of the last decade. In 2016 Charmaine was looking for a change and relocated from Auckland to Christchurch to undertake an alternative role for Rannerdale. When the previous General Manager retired from the position, she reconsidered her “never again” stance on applying for such a role. Charmaine found herself attracted to the idea of leading the team at Rannerdale as a direct result of their values-led mission and the overall feel of the Upper Riccarton-based facility and community.
One of the key pillars of support Charmaine has had in her role is from Nexia New Zealand’s Partner and health industry specialist, Jane Jackman. Nexia New Zealand has a depth of experience in providing governance support to numerous charitable trusts around the country, and Jane has been on the Board of Directors at Rannerdale since 2003 and is the current Chairperson.
“It’s a great comfort knowing we have Nexia in our corner"
“It’s a great comfort knowing we have Nexia in our corner, knowing someone completely understands what is coming in and what is going out from a finance perspective is vital,” says Charmaine. “But Jane also understands what is at the core of our business – our people - which is perfect for when the big decisions and investments happen; I trust her, and we have complete confidence in her ability and integrity”.
Charmaine feels that one of the primary components for ongoing successes at Rannerdale is the transparency between the charitable trust which owns Rannerdale, the management team who oversee the operations, and the Board of Directors who provide the overall governance. There are no hidden agendas; it’s a joint venture to achieve a shared vision. Jane has been instrumental in improving transparency between the three executive levels.
Charmaine highlights that Jane’s leadership style is that of a servant leader. “Jane is always so engaged and involved in all aspects of the business. She is always asking if there is anything I need from her. There used to be a real disconnect between operations and governance, so with the communication barriers removed, and the relationships nurtured positively – some significant things are now beginning to happen”.
"There used to be a real disconnect between operations and governance"
Jane is from a military family herself; which is why she has real empathy and heart for the residents and the veterans that Rannerdale supports. She understands the costs, and balances the bottom line with the needs of the residents & community. ‘I love the role and enjoy working with the Rannerdale management team and my fellow Board of Directors’ says Jane Jackman.
Rannerdale is an incredible community story; it’s about people helping people who wouldn’t otherwise have anywhere else to go. Some of the changes that Charmaine is facilitating are pioneering, especially with regards to what is achievable in mental health and alcohol & drug rehabilitation.
This formidable partnership is the key reason that projects are succeeding. Whether it’s growing the Nursing Council of New Zealand accredited Competency Assessment Programme (CAP) which is delivered in house, or a fully-funded ACC ‘six months medically supervised detox’ programme supported by Community Alcohol and Drug Service, City Mission and community General Practitioners – it’s all go at Rannerdale.
One of the loftiest projects on the horizon is the development of a veteran’s hub for New Zealand, an initiative that involves working with Veterans Affairs New Zealand (VANZ) and the Ministry of Defence. Rannerdale is hopeful of becoming the first nationwide central point of contact for all veterans. Charmaine is always quick to reiterate that “it’s been a team effort” and she contributes these recent successes to the wider Rannerdale team, their residential community, trustees and board members whose “genuine kindness, support and guidance are invaluable”.
There is a real sense of pride when you talk to both Charmaine and Jane about Rannerdale; you get the feeling that they are just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible when it comes to the overall well-being of vulnerable adults and the ex-service community - not only in Canterbury, but across the country.