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The Eldernet Group Proves SMEs Are Thriving Against The Odds

Turning 25 is an occasion every business should celebrate. Yet it will be a particularly significant milestone for The Eldernet Group, given the company has spent the previous decade operating from one of the suburbs hardest hit by the Christchurch earthquakes. Like many other businesses around the country, it has also successfully navigated the past 18 months of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a tough time for businesses over the past few years – especially for those of us in Christchurch – so I’m incredibly proud that we’ve continued growing the company despite all the challenges. We’re already looking ahead to the next 25 years,” says Director Esther Perriam.

With the company’s 25th birthday just around the corner, The Eldernet Group has moved to a new home in the heart of New Brighton – less than 1km away from where the company began in 1997.

“We have deep roots in New Brighton – it’s a community we are proud to have been part of for almost 25 years. The move into central New Brighton shows our commitment to the area and we hope it will encourage more businesses to migrate here too,” says Perriam.

The relocation will provide an opportunity for the company to continue expanding its business while providing a platform for the future. It already has plans to further increase its staff numbers over the coming months, with recruitment already underway for new team members.

New Brighton Business and Landowners Association spokesperson and owner of Paper Plus New Brighton Blair Hughes believes more businesses should follow The Eldernet Group’s lead.

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“New Brighton is a great place to do business: rent is more affordable than most parts of the city and residents love to support local businesses in the area. New Brighton is a community that truly looks after its own. It’s the reason so many of us have survived here when others around the country haven’t been so lucky.”

The move coincides with the launch of its new service ‘Making Life Easier’, an online directory that allows people and their loved ones to find local care and support options, community and advocacy groups, and service providers all in one place. Esther says its new offering is all about empowering older people to live their best lives, something The Eldernet Group sees as especially important given the challenges posed by Covid-19 restrictions.

“We know many older people are happy living at home and just need a bit of extra support now and again – whether they require a little assistance around the house, need some professional advice or simply want to connect with like-minded people. Yet these services can be difficult to find if you don’t know where to look or if you’re not sure yet what you are looking for. That’s why we believe Making Life Easier will be a real lifeline for thousands of kiwis.”

Co-founded in 1997 by Brighton local Eleanor Bodger (who remains a director of the company), Eldernet was established in response to seeing a need for a comprehensive information service that focused on issues concerning older kiwis. Starting off as one of the original websites in the country, the company originally ran out of a bedroom in Eleanor’s family home. It now employs 20 staff and has become recognised as one of New Zealand’s most trusted providers of information for older people, their whānau and professionals working in the sector.

The Eldernet Group produces Where from here He Ara Whakamua, a regionally specific handbook that helps seniors, and those supporting them, navigate the ageing journey (which is why it is commonly referred to as the “older person’s bible”). Its full range of services can be accessed for free at www.eldernet.co.nz, including Eldernet Residential Care (free, unbiased and extensive information about moving to aged residential care, including up-to-date residential care bed vacancies) and retirementvillages.co.nz (which has more retirement village listings than any other website in the country).

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