BALLARAT’S leading lady in social welfare is taking a bow.
Di Noyce, executive director of Lisa Lodge for 27 years and social worker for 32 years, is finally retiring from the industry to which she gave so much for so many years.
Mrs Noyce will retire from Lisa Lodge next Friday, on the same day the organisation merges with Australia-wide welfare agency Berry Street.
The chair she sat in for almost three decades will then be occupied by Ric Pawsey from Berry Street.
Apart from that, and a name change, Lisa Lodge will remain exactly the same.
Mrs Noyce, 64, said that although Lisa Lodge took up a massive part in her life, leaving it behind would be easy knowing it was in capable hands.
“I’m really proud of what we have driven at the practice in so many ways,” she said.
“I have seen it grow from a small, community-minded set up to what is now, with more than 50 employees.”
Lisa Lodge was established in 1970 with Rita Hayes, a Sister of Mercy, who was the first supervisor.
It initially relied on donations and help from the Ballarat community, helping young girls and women who were disadvantaged or unemployed.
Over time, under the guidance of the ‘Lady of the Lodge’, the organisation continued to grow.
Now, with possible funding cuts for smaller agencies imminent, Mrs Noyce made the decision to merge with Berry Street.
She said it was difficult to pinpoint any particular highlights that struck her over the years - there were just too many.
Mrs Noyce said the the fact the agency was set up by the community and was a key exponent in keeping families together was among some of the most important parts of Lisa Lodge.
“I’m very comfortable with the decision I have made. There is no doubt I will miss everybody around here a lot though,” she said.
Mrs Noyce said she would take time away from social welfare immediately after retirement, but envisaged re-entering the field in some aspect further down the track.