Chairperson's Annual Report
The past few years have imposed significant changes on all our lives. Very few people have been left untouched by the many and various direct and/or indirect impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. At times, there has been lock downs, other controversial mandates, rapidly changing requirements and some very mixed messages, all of which have led to widespread confusion and a sense of frustration, isolation and increased mental illness, on top of the physical impact of the actual illness itself.
It has been said that the Covid pandemic doesn’t discriminate. Just like mental illness, Covid can affect people from all walks of life, almost without warning, and despite our best attempts to prevent transmission and provide effective treatment. While this is true, we also know that the capacity of people in our community already facing entrenched disadvantage to protect themselves against such disease is extremely limited. They often have a lower threshold of wellness in many important domains that can make daily life challenges feel insurmountable.
You will see from the pages that follow in this report, that during this time the team at GCYS has been at the forefront ‘doing whatever it takes’ to respond to and care for our most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people. Housing, food and employment insecurity has all risen to heights not experienced before for many generations. The breadth of the impact cannot be overstated, both currently and in the immediate future.
The role of the Management Committee in steering the strategic direction of the Gold Coast Youth Service (GCYS) over the past 12 months has been somewhat different to most years across previous decades. We have grappled with the imposition of mandatory vaccination across state and national funding contracts. We did all that we could to allow our staff to make their own personal choice about vaccination until it became clear that our work with young people was potentially being compromised by the illegality of unvaccinated people entering government facilities where many of our young people either reside temporarily or attend for health or housing services (or due to employment, training or even incarceration).
The Management Committee have undertaken a limited number of site visits over this past 12 months. We aim to increase this over the coming year in order to see and support first-hand the great work being done by GCYS teams and to better understand the issues to inform our role as advocates to Government and policy makers in order to bring about positive change.
We recently held an externally facilitated strategic planning day to re-visit and renew our strategic objectives and to facilitate the development and implementation of solid measurable operational objectives from which to move into the next phase of increasing support to our community’s young people facing homelessness and disadvantage.
The Management Committee has worked with the CEO to ensure ongoing provision of essential support services while also attempting to maintain our social justice framework in decision making for all staff and community members.
We would like to acknowledge 2 Committee Members who resigned from their roles in June. We thank our immediate past Chairperson Erica Begelhole and Jerusha Morris for their passion and dedication to GCYS in various roles over many years. We also acknowledge Jill Moon who will finish up on at Committee at this AGM, thank you Jill. We are happy to have recently welcomed Susie Boyer & Allan Finn to the Management Committee and acknowledge the many years of service of Matthew Clayworth who continues in his role as Treasurer.
The Management Committee is proud of the work ethic and culture of the staff team at GCYS so ably led by Maria Leebeek and has great faith in the positive impact this service has in our community. I commend to you the work of this passionate, skilful and dynamic group of professionals and appreciate your support and collaboration as we work together to make a positive different in the lives of young people on the Gold Coast.
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- Queensland Department of Communities, Housing & Digital Economy
- Queensland Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women
- Queensland Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors
- Commonwealth Department of Social Services
And the generous support of our sponsors, donors, and community members