Nurse calls time after 40 years of caring for the community
WITH a career spanning more than four decades and having helped care for hundreds of people living with mental illnesses, one of Fernvale’s most beloved nurses has made the sad decision to retire.
Lyn Jewell is stepping down from her role at the Fernvale After Care Centre, which she founded with her late husband in 1980.
“My husband and I put all our effort into this place and the people we helped,” Mrs Jewell said.
“When people were being let out of the institutions in the 70s and early 80s, including from Wolston Park, we knew they needed a place to go.
“These people were going to horrible conditions. Some were put under houses on dirty mattresses, and others were homeless.
“We started off with two people and we went and bought a few beds and some sheets, some plates and bowls and other utensils.
“We put thousands of dollars into this centre.”
Today, the Fernvale After Care Centre is a fully accredited Level 3 Residential Service that offers supported accommodation for up to 35 people living with mental illness, alcohol related dementia, acquired brain injuries and the homeless. The centre has shared room accommodation with communal areas for residents to gather.
Inspired at a young age by her mother, who also worked as a nurse, Mrs Jewell said she wanted to ensure those living with mental illnesses had the basic rights everyone is entitled to.
“What I have loved most about my job is giving people a home where they can feel safe and well cared for,” Mrs Jewell said.
“When I go home at night I have a full tummy, a warm bed and I feel safe, and that is what I wanted for these people as well.
“I care about these people immensely. They are like family to me.
“We have had some residents who have stayed long-term, and others who have only stayed a short time, but I care about every single one of them.”
Even though she is entering retirement, Mrs Jewell said she will still be a familiar face around the centre.
“I had a break over Christmas but I became really bored,” she said, laughing.
“So I will still be here. I want to help the gardener and look after the pets.”