Looking back, the year provided a range of unforeseen challenges for the people of NSW and ACT, from fires and floods through to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The demands and distraction of COVID-19 cannot and should not be underestimated, and I am deeply proud of how the people of Uniting have responded to, and continue to respond to, this global pandemic. The way teams at every level, from frontline staff through to my Executive Leadership Team, have pulled together to generate tremendous capacity and capability while caring for those in our care has been heartening.”
While responding to the challenges of FY21, we continued with our business-as-usual activities and progressed several important strategic projects aligned to our 4 organisation-wide goals of culture and safety, social impact, service evolution, and responsible stewardship.
The culture and safety projects bring our mission to life through our values of being compassionate, respectful, imaginative and bold as we continue to create and nurture an inclusive, safe, reliable and person-centred culture for our people, and the people we serve. The social impact projects are actively changing the circumstances of disadvantaged and vulnerable people through a range of programs and partnerships, including our Future Horizons initiatives. The service evolution projects are working to improve our person-centred service models, and our capability and quality frameworks, so that we can continue to meet the changing needs of people and communities. And our responsible stewardship projects are wisely using the resources entrusted to us by the Uniting Church, government, and clients, as we invest to maximise positive social outcomes.
I am very proud of our key achievements throughout the year, some of which included: launching our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy; hosting the Ngumbadal Gathering for over 100 Aboriginal employees in Dubbo; opening Foyer Central, a purpose-built campus in Chippendale offering affordable accommodation for young people leaving foster care, as they take charge of their transition to independence; and commissioning Uniting Westmead, where we are proudly continuing our 55-year legacy of supporting people and families in the area, by bringing together retirement living, residential aged care, a seniors’ gym, café and early learning centre – all at one convenient location in the heart of Westmead’s health precinct.
Regionally, we focused our efforts on expanding our reach to help build and strengthen communities. And we continued our bold commitment to government policy development and advocacy with, and on behalf of, older people and their families and carers – for reform in the way that senior Australians are supported in Residential Aged Care and Home Care.
We are hopeful about the opportunities ahead, across the broad range of services we offer, to respond to changing client needs and expectations. We are focused on providing high-quality care in home-like settings which meet the complex needs of older people; delivering a transformed model of in-home and community care, which maximises client choice and control; creating and sustaining supportive, vibrant and diverse senior communities; prioritising services that support a child’s first 2,000 days; delivering services for children and young people in education, prevention, early intervention and restoration; and supporting people with a disability to build their capacity and independence, and to engage with the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
The needs of people and communities who are economically disadvantaged or who may be experiencing vulnerability due to their stage in life – whether they’re children, younger people, or seniors – and people who are socially excluded because of their culture, faith, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation, have never been greater. I am grateful to our Board, who provide ongoing leadership for, and governance over, the depth and breadth of work at Uniting. And I express sincere thanks to my Executive Leadership Team and our 10,500 employees and volunteers for all that they do, every day, to provide care and support for people through all ages, stages and challenges of life.
Executive Director/Chief Executive