Presidents Report  to AGM for FY 15/16

This last 12 months has seen a most significant increase in the range and number of services provided to veterans and their families by VCA . This has occurred as a result of the development of the Timor Awakening Programme, and significant funding support from RSL Care , RSL Qld and Knights of the Southern cross as well as a range of other donors.  But the actual service delivery has been facilitated by many generous volunteers  who are members of VCA .

VCA was established to raise the level of health of the veteran community and we have definitely been doing that primarily through pastoral care and holistic health education.  Approximately 1000 people have received holistic health education sessions in the FY , and we have had an average of 30 pastoral  interventions every week in that same period. This will remain our frontline activity.

On a strategic level, we have engaged in many Ex Service Organisation forums, promoting the need for holistic approaches to Veterans health, and we have made submissions to several Senate Inquiries, Defence and DVA. It has been delightful to hear leaders in these other organisations subsequently echoing and moving towards embracing what we are modeling and advocating. Systemic change will be our biggest long term contribution to Veterans and their families.

Timor Awakening, ably led by Michael Stone, and practically facilitated by Kirsten Wells, and a range of volunteers has established itself as the most innovative step forward in Veterans health in Australia.  Approximately 60 veterans and their families are currently getting 12 months intense support through this programme. At the same time our visits to Timor have greatly blessed  hundreds of local Timorese veterans and inspired the development  of Veterans support arrangements in that nation. The legacy of this programme is probably beyond our imagining.

All of this has only been possible through the generosity of many volunteers and donors , too many to mention here , but we must formally thank key members of our management team over the period in Geoff Fry , Robert Vicary, Col Ahern, Michael Stone, Caitlin Proctor , Kirsten Wells and Adam Walk. We have also been blessed by  advice from our wide range of health consultants of every discipline, with special thanks to Dr Merryn Thomae, Dr John Barletta, and Psychologist Chris Hully. The Treasurer will acknowledge our many donors , but special thanks must go to Pat Mc Intosh, Stewart Cameron, Scott Denner, Kev Lappin,  John Hull, and Alf Vockler  for unique contributions they have made. Mark Bowling from the Catholic Leader has facilitated excellent media coverage for us. Archbishop Mark Coleridge has given us his blessing and endorsement and commended every Catholic school , parish, hospital and care facility, to honour veterans  this year.

Over the coming year we will be continuing to develop our Timor Awakening programme and stabilizing our workload for long-term sustenance of our key staff . We will be collating evidence of the success of our methodology  and strengthening our volunteer base.

Thank you for your support and involvement. We are a caring association of “Good Samaritans”. May God bless you for your compassion and concern.      Gary Stone

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