Distinctive Options and Noweyung announce merger signalling new opportunities for disability services participants from Bendigo to Bairnsdale
One of Victoria’s leading disability services providers, Distinctive Options, has announced it has reached agreement with East Gippsland-based provider Noweyung to merge, creating a service and support network for people with disabilities reaching from Bendigo to Bairnsdale.
The announcement comes after two months of discussions and due diligence by both organisations to ensure the merger was in the best interests of the participants and their families who rely on the supports and services provided by both organisations. Between them, they support approximately 350 individuals across the State with varying service requirements and employ just over 260 in a variety of roles across all sites and services.
Both organisations provide opportunities for NDIS funded participants and a range of other programs funded by grants and emerging social enterprises. Distinctive Options operates services across a wide geographic region, including individualised 1-on-1 support supports, with service sites located in Bendigo, Sunbury, and Keilor East. Noweyung, established in 1954 by local people, is based in Bairnsdale.
“Our services are largely interchangeable, each service has grown to have strengths which complement each other,” said Kalma Rathouski, Chair of the Distinctive Options Board. “For example, Distinctive Options is proud to have developed enterprises including honey production and a café in Gisborne, with other supported employment options and a wide range of group and individual activities and supports, in addition to a new offering specialising in supported travel for people with disabilities across Australia,” she explained.
“Noweyung also has a café and an award-winning gourmet food enterprise, along with a range of group support services, a well-developed supported residential living offering, plus financial plan management which assist participants and their families to navigate program packages and payments. It is clear, services will complement each other and allow us to expand what is available in each of the regions,” she said.
Noweyung Board Chair, Bruce Hammond said the increasingly competitive NDIS environment meant that the Noweyung service required a strategic merger to survive. “The current Board and our community of participants and their families are extremely supportive of the opportunity the integration of the two services will offer for the future. We are confident that under the management of the innovative and committed Distinctive Options leadership, Noweyung will have a fresh start and offer a wider range of services and opportunities than we could offer on our own,” he said.
The merger will take effect formally after meeting final legal requirements, anticipating completion in the coming months. Distinctive Options will assume transition management arrangements in anticipation of completion from July, under the direction of CEO Ernie Metcalf and his leadership team. It is worth noting that Ernie successfully led Noweyung as its CEO from 2003 to 2016, prior to joining Distinctive Options.