It’s been another year of making an impact for our local people, organisations and communities.
And in the face of the continuing global pandemic, this impact has never been more important. Through these challenges we’ve really seen why what we do matters, and how a strong, resilient and connected community is crucial – especially in tough times.
Our commitment to opening up opportunities to participate remained stronger than ever, as we explored new directions and built on existing initiatives in our key focus areas: community support, volunteering, learning and partnerships.
In response to changing needs, our on-the-ground work with and for our community shifted. Many volunteers in programs put on hold due to COVID restrictions were keen to assist however they could, with several coming on board to deliver meals to vulnerable people through our Laneway – Cafe without Borders community meal program, transporting people to non-emergency medical appointments, and helping out with essential shopping.
With the impact of volunteering more clear than ever, we continued our work strengthening other volunteer-involving organisations, and promoting the act of volunteering itself. A significant achievement included launching the Think Impact report Volunteering, Participatory Action and Social Cohesion, which examined broadening the scope of the volunteer support sector to build social cohesion. The report sets out how the current national volunteer support infrastructure can transition to better contribute to all dimensions of social cohesion, and will underpin our position as a place-based organisation working to strengthen and mobilise individuals, community groups and organisations to build on our community assets.
‘We’ve really seen why what we do matters, and how a strong, resilient and connected community is crucial.’
Like many organisations, the global disruption of this year also gave us the chance to review all parts of our business with our long-term direction in mind. While any disruption can be difficult to manage, it gave us the opportunity to rethink what we do and finesse our vision for future development and stabilisation, so we can continue to deliver sustainable programs for our community in the years to come.
This review resulted in taking early action across a range of financial measures to offset the effects of losses in the previous financial year, combined with the impact of continuing COVID restrictions.
Measures included ceasing non-financially viable programs, selling non-essential assets, changing the business model for Laneway Cafe, and reviewing expenditure and staffing structures.
Through these steps and the tremendous work ethic of our team, we’ve been able to reduce our liabilities and set the Centre for Participation up to continue to meet the needs of our community in the long-term.
This year also saw the Board and management team further develop our vision for the future through the completion of our 2021–24 strategic plan. It brings together the insights uncovered during strategic planning workshops held in late 2020, exploring where we are now, where we’re going and how we’ll get there.
As we reflect on the year that was and the impact we’ve made, we’re incredibly grateful to our Board, team, volunteers, partners and wider community for their part in making it happen. By building on the impact we’ve made and the stability we’ve achieved, we know we have a strong platform to help us continue to grow and support our community – well into the future.
– Robbie Millar, Acting CEO and Ray Kingston, Chair
To read more about our impact throughout the past year, check out our latest annual report.