To celebrate Seniors Week 2016 we once again partnered with Griffith University Photojournalism students to host an inspiring photographic exhibition. The theme students were given was ‘80 years of care’ to coincide with the 80 year celebration of the Wheller Gardens site; the first aged care community ever to be built in Queensland.
Local Federal Member Wayne Swan attended the launch, along with students and many of the residents and retirees who featured in the photos.
We had the privilege of once again being a Co-Chair for Queensland’s Anti-Poverty Week – a significant public platform to raise awareness for those doing it tough in our own backyard and around the world. The Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Shannon Fentiman launched the week at a corporate breakfast hosted by our supporters Deloitte in Brisbane City. The event also served to launch our Red Bag Christmas Appeal and our community engagement initiative, Campaign for Change.
Other events during the week included a 5km ‘Walk Against Poverty’ through Southbank and a photojournalism exhibition, ‘The Power of Community’ which featured at Central, South Brisbane and Roma Street train stations as well as the Maud Gallery in Newstead. Thank you to all our corporate and community supporters who helped raise awareness of poverty in our communities by taking part in the events.
In October 2016 we launched our third Campaign for Change initiative; a biennial competition that aims to find the state’s best and brightest social innovators. With the support of the State Government, two Queenslanders each received $25,000 in grant funding to establish their social innovation. The competition once again proved popular with more than 60 applications for social change received. It was wonderful to welcome Queensland State Member Stirling Hinchliffe and the Queensland Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Grace Grace to the finale event to announce the winners - Dean Gibson and Kate Perry with their ideas: the ‘Black Man Project,’ a series of video stories to celebrate the lives of Indigenous men and ‘The Wiserr Network,’ an online app challenging age discrimination. Both Dean and Kate’s projects are set to launch in late 2017.
Our Wheller Gardens heritage site and Queensland’s only children’s hospice, Hummingbird House continue to be involved in Brisbane Open House each October. More than 600 people visited the site in 2016 and enjoyed touring the recently opened Betty Smith Heritage Precinct. The precinct houses three original Marchant cottages restored to create a museum with interpretive panels, artefacts and photos, and memorabilia of the history of aged care at Wesley Mission Queensland. The precinct is now open to the public, schools, and community and historical groups by appointment.
Our Art from the Margins (AFTM) program celebrated its 10th anniversary as part of the iconic Brisbane Festival in 2017. As the festival’s largest independent art exhibition, AFTM gives Brisbane artists living with disadvantage the unique opportunity to display their artwork in a prominent event. Since the first exhibition in the festival in 2008, more than 1,000 individual artists and 50 community art organisations have participated in AFTM’s exhibition. More than 1,500 people visited this year’s anniversary exhibition with $9,954 of artwork sold.
In November we held a special commemoration to mark our 80th anniversary of providing aged care in Queensland. The Governor of Queensland, His Excellency The Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, attended the re-enactment of the original opening day ceremony of The Garden Settlement at Wheller Gardens in Chermside on 23rd November 1936, and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening of The Betty Smith Heritage Precinct. More than 150 people attended the ceremony including relatives of past residents and relatives of Betty Smith and the Wheller families.
More than 450 guests and supporters joined us to celebrate 2016 and raise funds for our services at the annual Spirit of Queensland Gala Dinner in November 2016. A big thank you to our 20 corporate sponsors on the night and all those who generously supported the live and silent auctions. All of the money raised on the evening helps us to continue our vital work in the community. Terri Begley from ABC Radio Brisbane was our MC on the night, with entertainment from the Voices of Biralee and performer, Tony Doevendans.
In May staff and two young mothers from our parenting programs were involved in a special Mother’s Day feature on ABC Radio Brisbane with Kelly Higgins-Devine. The live panel interview was in praise of young mothers and highlighted the challenges and triumphs of being a young mother, as well as the support our parenting programs provide.