President's Report - Annual Report 2018/19

I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we stand, the Wulgurukaba and Bindal people. I pay my respects to past and present elders and emerging leaders.

It gives me great pleasure to present this report today at the 2019 Annual General Meeting. At the end of my report last year I said that we were looking forward to another year of consolidation, commitment and excitement however it became a year of change, challenge, commitment, consolidation and excitement.

The first major change was the resignation of Mandy Thompson as CEO, Mandy did a sterling job during the years she was at the helm of Althea Projects and left the organisation in a sound and stable position to meet the needs of disadvantaged families in Townsville.

After a recruitment process, we were more than fortunate to secure Paula La Rosa as our new CEO. Paula comes to Althea with a strong background in governance with many years experience in the not for profit sector. Not only did Paula step into the role effortlessly but kindly commenced earlier than planned when we faced our biggest challenge, the floods of February 2019.

Wee Care was unfortunately inundated and had to be evacuated. The generosity of the Townsville community in assisting with the clean up of Wee Care was overwhelming. Noemi Mintern and Mary-Anne Hamilton from the Management Commitment worked tirelessly with Wee Care staff, the Army, businesses and volunteers from the community who turned up and gave assistance without being asked. We thank Scott McElligott from Pickerings Townsville for their generous donation of a temporary replacement van and for all their staff for fundraising events and collection of replacement goods. The generosity of Townsville people never ceases to amaze me, we are so fortunate to have such good people in this wonderful city of ours. We received many donations of much needed supplies, including a storage unit donated by Yeatman Storage that enabled us to store anything that could be salvaged. In addition to this, the Army provided resources to help us transport anything we could use again to the storage unit.

We were able to secure alternate accommodation for Wee Care and we thank the landlord and the neighbours in Cranbrook for their acceptance of, and assistance to the organisation over the past few months. I want to thank Ben Prest for the technical assistance his has provided throughout the year as we have inspected and ensured our premises is being restored and renovated as we require. It is expected that we will relocate back to our Railway Estate property by end of October. Hopefully, the February floods will be the only major challenge we face this year.

The commitment of our staff and supporters to assist an increasingly broad group of clients and to provide the best possible service to individuals, families and children has continued and grown.

Shared Family Care workers endeavour to meet the complex needs of children in the Child Safety system, to find the best possible placement for these children and support those wonderful carers who welcome these children into their homes. In another change, Shared Family Care farewelled long term manager Teresa Smith earlier this year, we thank Teresa for her many years of dedication and commitment to the service. We welcomed Judith Williams as Teresa’s replacement.

Through the Townsville Drop In Centre, we continue to demonstrate our ability to work with those affected by poverty, disadvantage and homelessness and provide opportunities to link these clients into relevant health, financial and housing services thus consolidating the work we began in 2017 when we took over the service.

None of this wonderful work is possible without the commitment and dedication of our staff at Shared Family Care, Wee Care, the Drop In Centre and the Corporate Team, your commitment to the work you do every day is highly valued by your clients and by the service, the Management Committee acknowledges and values this highly.

After changes and challenges, it is good to have some excitement. Althea Angels, which was launched last year, has continued to capture the generosity of the Townsville Community and has raised much needed funds for Althea Projects. We thank Jam Corner and Bridgewater for their continued support.

The staff at Myer Townsville have continued to support the organisation, we remain enormously grateful for their generosity which has even extended to support from Myer in Brisbane following the floods. We are also grateful for the support of Myer itself which matches the fundraising efforts of local staff. The recent highly successful annual Myer dinner provided an opportunity for Althea Projects to thank the local Myer staff.

I have been both privileged and fortunate to have worked with the women who form part of the Management Committee. It has been a busy year for us all and I thank Deb, Ruth, Mary‐Ann, Anne, Donna and lastly Noemi for their dedication, support and wisdom throughout the year.

I wish to particularly acknowledge Ruth Stainbrook and Deb Miles, both long term members of the Management Committee. Both Ruth and Deb have decided to move on and I thank them for their service, vision, commitment and wisdom over many years. Althea Projects would not occupy the position it does without them.

I am reluctant to allocate any specific words for 2020 after my experience this year except to say that Althea Projects continues to strive to meet the many needs of individuals, families and children in need. We are in a good place to do so.

Mary Wallace


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