President’s Report FY: 2016/2017

This last 12 months has seen the most significant increase in the range and number of services provided to veterans and their families by VCA, and a 10 fold increase in our financial receipts and expenditure . This has occurred largely as a result of the services provided in the Timor Awakening Programme, developed and delivered by Michael Stone.  Significant funding support has come from our major sponsor RSL Care- now known as Bolton Clark , as well as RSL Qld and Knights of the Southern Cross, and a range of other donors.  Generous volunteers have given the gifts of their time to deliver these services , as well as provide the governance to enable them . While the balance sheet reflects a trading deficit over the period, we delivered services from funds donated in the previous trading year and concluded the year with a $129,412 cash surplus.

VCA is raising the level of health in the veteran community through pastoral care, peer support  and holistic health education.  Over 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. Evidence shows that over 100 Australian families now have improved lives  through Timor Awakening, let alone the thousands  of Timorese veterans and their families we have touched.

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  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  has established itself as the most innovative step forward in improving Veterans health in Australia.  Four programmes were delivered and evaluated  in this FY. At the same time our visits to Timor have inspired the development  of Veterans support arrangements in that nation. The long term legacy of this programme is 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 ,  Col Ahern, Michael Stone, Wayne Robson .   Kirsten Wells and Michael Albrecht have provided key personal support to clients. We have also been blessed by  advice from our wide range of health consultants of every discipline, with special thanks to Dr Ian Marshall, Dr Merryn Thomae, and Psychologists Dr John Barletta, Chris Hully and Phoebe Cooper . The Treasurer will acknowledge our many donors , but special thanks must go to Pat Mc Intosh, Steve Muggleton, Stewart Cameron, Scott Denner,and  Kevin Lappin,   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.

Over the coming year we will be delivering two Timor Awakening programmes and stabilizing our workload for long-term sustenance of our key staff. We are collating evidence of the success of our methodology, seeking longer term funding sources,  and strengthening our volunteer base. Thank you for your support and involvement. We are a caring association of “Good Samaritans”.

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