President’s Report to AGM for FY 17/18

This last 12 months has seen the work of VCA develop a deep sense of maturity and stability. We have finely tuned the services provided to veterans and their families. We have developed a robust management framework with strong governance and financial accountability. We have a competent and collaborative staff team. The Timor Awakening Program, developed and delivered by Michael Stone has been our flagship activity . Significant funding support has come from our major sponsor Bolton Clark, as well as RSL Qld and Knights of the Southern Cross, and other donors. Generous volunteers have given the gifts of their time to deliver services as well as provide the governance to enable them. Michael Albrecht’s Life Coaching has been a great innovation – winning funding by DVA.

VCA has remained focused on its vision of 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 150 Australian families now have improved lives through Timor Awakening, let alone the thousands of Timorese veterans and their families we have touched. The Australian Veterans Scholarship has been launched with 20 children of veterans now commencing vocational studies in Dili, funded by the donations of TA Alumni. Giving is healthy for us.

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. We have assisted with the Bolton Clarke Veterans Family Toolbox – the most innovative Veteran health educational programme in the world.

Our visits to Timor have inspired the development of Veterans support arrangements in that nation. We have applied for a DFAT Friendship Grant. The long-term legacy of this program is beyond our imagining. TA alumni are offering to assist the Timorese Veterans in their steps forward. 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, and Wayne Robson. Michael Albrecht has provided key personal support to clients, and his Life Coaching gained the DVA Minister’s praise recently . We have been blessed by advice from our wide range of health consultants of every discipline, with special thanks to Dr Ian Marshall, and Psychologists Dr John Barletta, and Chris Hully. The Treasurer will acknowledge our many donors, but special thanks must go to Pat McIntosh, Steve Muggleton, Stewart Cameron, Scott Denner, Katie Maloney, Marty Kruck , Mike Harris, Kevin Bailey 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 programs and one Commemorative and Volunteer Programme. We are stabilizing our workload for long-term sustenance of our key staff, collating evidence of the success of our methodology, and seeking longer term funding sources.

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

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