image of CEO Leigh Kildey wearing yellow and black

How Ashfield Baptist Homes cares for the Inner West

By Alison Abel

Plans for Ashfield’s exciting new retirement-living development are well underway. As we count down to the opening of The Cunningham, we’re sharing stories about how this exclusive retirement-living community came into being and what it means for the Inner West. Here, we profile Ashfield Baptist Homes CEO Leigh Kildey, who talks about the organisation’s history of care and what makes The Cunningham such a breath of fresh air.

Being trusted to care for people is a big responsibility, but for Leigh Kildey it’s always been a privilege not a burden. As the CEO of Ashfield Baptist Homes, Leigh is responsible for more than 200 staff and hundreds of Inner West residents, but no matter how much is on her plate she never loses sight of what matters most: the people who have trusted Ashfield Baptist Homes to care for them.

“I’m absolutely driven every day to make sure that everybody that we’re responsible for is well cared for,” says Leigh. “I want to walk out the door and know that Jane, for example, has had her pearls put on and had her lipstick done, and she’s set for the day.

“That’s what drives the team as well,” she adds. “We’re not removed from the care delivery, we’re here onsite as an admin team. So we get to know residents, and making sure their expectations are met is culturally very important to us.”

That foundation of genuine care is part of what has made Ashfield Baptist Homes so well-respected in the Inner West, and why there’s huge interest in The Cunningham, the organisation’s exciting development about to take shape on Queen Street. Unlike large-chain aged care providers, Ashfield Baptist Homes is a small not-for-profit organisation that only runs a boutique residential care facility, and has been caring for people from the Inner West since the 1930s when nurse Ann Scur first set up a home for older people.

“That philosophy from all those years ago still drives us today, which makes us quite unique,” says Leigh. “I often say to the team here: not everybody wants McDonald’s or KFC, sometimes people want to go to the local burger shop on the corner and get a bespoke order, and I think that’s what we offer.”

The Cunningham is a 46-apartment development that will allow locals to enjoy a luxurious retirement while staying connected to their family, friends and local service providers, and forming new connections with like-minded people. Leigh says it was born from a desire to better support Inner West people as they transition through senior life stages. It was important to her, and Ashfield Baptist Homes as a whole, that the development be small and close-knit.

“In terms of its size, the community is not going to be overwhelming for anyone,” she says. “All of the common areas and the way the layout of the buildings have been designed is to foster that community,” she says.

“It’s also been designed to platinum standard for disability access, which means many things can be retrofitted should the care needs of people change – and that’s quite unusual. A lot of developments are designed just to an apartment standard, and when people get to a certain stage of care requirements, they literally have to move, but here that’s not the case.”

If you drive past The Cunningham site on Queen Street you won’t see much yet, but Leigh says she’s been thrilled at the early feedback from locals, proving there’s great demand for a small, heart-centred community where people can age in place.

“There’s been no movement on the land, and yet, we still have a lot of active leads on our waitlist. So obviously there’s a need within the community, and I expect that interest to continue to grow as the development progresses.”

If you’d like to know more about The Cunningham, visit or contact Alison Abel on 1800 115 220 or email

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