Welcome to our annual review for 2017-18.
In November 2017 I reached the personal milestone of 20 years as CEO of this remarkable organisation; this occasion has given me cause to reflect on how far we have come and how the landscape has changed over that period.
When I first started in 1997, the Mission had already been serving the people in South East Queensland for 90 years - an incredible legacy of care, compassion and sustained commitment to supporting people in need in our community. Since then, we have intentionally planned and committed to diversifying our service responses to support those most in need (focusing on unmet need) in our community. Our first Youngcare apartments (supporting younger adults living with complex disabilities) opened 10 years ago; Clear Breeze apartments (supporting people living with mental illness to live independently) opened three years ago and Hummingbird House reached its two year celebration in October. These are three practical examples of Wesley Mission Queensland’s responses to human need – where small beginnings can become life enriching for so many people. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do – in 2018 we now provide services to more than 100,000 people across 65 geographical locations in Queensland, and also through 485 Auslan interpreters supporting more than 3,500 members of the Deaf community across Australia.
We are committed to building stronger communities and contributing to community wellbeing. In 2018 Wheller on the Park Retirement Community marked its 10 year anniversary; we opened Dovetree aged care community at Sinnamon Village, including the Fulton Wellbeing Centre, and commenced development of Rosemount Retirement Community which will be home to more than 200 people from mid-2019.
While Australia’s ageing population will be one of our biggest challenges it also brings great opportunity – so many of our volunteers are over 65 and love bringing joy and happiness to: families in Hummingbird House; older residents in our aged care homes; people living with a disability – people wanting to find ways of giving back!
This last year also marked a time to say farewell and recognise the wonderful contribution of the Rev. Lyn Burden Superintendent Minister of WMQ for 12 years. Lyn was a great advocate for the Christian purpose of Wesley Mission Queensland - that in caring for, and supporting, people in need is participating in the mission of God towards reconciliation, transformation, justice and hope for all people. We also welcome our new colleague and Superintendent Minister the Rev. Dr. Peter Hobson and look forward to working alongside Peter in the years to come.
I am deeply grateful to our 2,600 staff and 2,000 plus volunteers who understand that it’s these small things – the smiles, the food parcel, the handshake, the understanding, the advocacy, the safe place to live, even the cup of tea and the conversations that can be the biggest things for those we serve. You are the heart, the face and the hands of the organisation as we walk alongside people in need offering care and compassion, promoting choice, independence and community wellbeing.
Geoff Batkin, Chief Executive Officer