Conference was attended this year by 27 representatives from 11 branches. John Pack a long serving chairman and board member now retired gave us a warm welcome hoping for an informative conference with interaction from staff and branch members. CEO Lindsay Cane gave a review of the years activities, numbers of children receiving treatment have increased; corporate partners giving help and publicity have increased also. Lindsay then read the Chairman Richard Barons report as we didn’t attend the AGM with conference being postponed until January. Richard has now retired as chairman. The new Chair is Joan Treweeke OAM, Vice Chair Michael Gill, Treasurer Mark Drummond.
Kevin Bone, Operations Director/Company Secretary told us this is his last report as he is moving on to follow his dream. Kevin said we still need 3 million to fully fund the new building. We were given detailed plans and talked through, with a lot of questions and answers about the set up of this state of the art building.
We were then taken up to the roof area to look at the site and how far it had progressed. The outlook is for the new building to be up and running by January 2019. The goal this year is to see 15,000 kids compared to 750 four years ago. Team member Mick Everett gave us some figures, the clinical team number 65 in another 3 years this is estimated to rise by another 50 clinicians. Telehealth are anticipating 3,500 kids being seen per month. Waiting lists are now much shorter 4 to 6 months.
Branches then were called to give their reports and amounts of money raised for the previous 12 months. I gave Grenfell’s report and was proud to announce we had forwarded $13,000.00 for the last year.
Fiona Phipps spoke about the windmill program, it is an innovative disability service for children aged from 2 to 12 years from remote and rural areas who are eligible for NDIS and DSS federal funding. Therapy is given by intensive intervention at Manly and also by Telecare in their own environs.
Another service is the Paediatric Developmental Program, also aimed at 2 to 12 year olds and their families who will benefit from a multidisciplinary view to provide assessment, diagnosis and support services and therapy at Manly. Families often have multiple visits for therapy with support and review by telecare between visits if needed.
Day 2. Partnerships were discussed and quite a few companies have come on board to donate and help with funding of programs. Speech Therapy Programs in the country schools is funded by the branches at a cost of $200 per child. Akubra General Manager Andrew Angus gave an interesting talk backed up by a video presentation of Akubras being made; we were all very interested in this with lots of questions afterwards. Akubra and the Kier family is an iconic partner who supports our cause with so much generosity. Every delegate received a beautiful volume of the Akubra story to bring home.
We then had drinks and snacks in the outdoor area, with cleaning, catering, office, clinical and executive staff mingling with the delegates it was a lovely group talking casually and getting to know each other better. We then walked to the Corso where the Steyne Hotel hosted the Annual luncheon in the beautiful roof top Glass House. They provided a 5star 2 course meal and drinks for delegates and any of Royal Far West staff that could be spared. Royal Far West goes where the system stops.
Orange Branch conducted their trading table it raised $148.50c and the raffle $141.00c over 3 days Bingo organised by Manildra branch was held Tuesday evening and raised $180.00c. A total of $469.50c was presented at the close of conference. We stayed in the lovely old Drummond House; it is very comfortable and homely with all families having their own room with on suite and TV.
The guest lounges are very comfy with TV, books toys etc, also laundry facilities, activity rooms where the children have supervised activities. A great dining room for buffet breakfast, catered lunch and evening meals. Dedicated staff, and last but not least the beach just a minutes walk away. What more could any family want or need while their child receives expert treatment for their many and varied ailments.
Margaret Cuddihy – Grenfell Branch President