LEAD ROLE: Mount Gambier’s Rick Fisher was appointed as ac.care’s new board convenor at the agency’s annual general meeting this month.
THOUSANDS of people across regional South Australia were supported by regional agency ac.care last financial year.
A challenging year supporting people affected by COVID-19, meeting the growing needs of young people in state care and expanding its work in regional communities was the focus of the organisation’s annual general meeting this month.
The organisation’s annual report, released to coincide with the meeting, also highlight the agency’s achievements across the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Limestone Coast, Adelaide Hill and Fleurieu Peninsula over 2019/20.
This included supporting 278 people to avoid homelessness with early intervention support, helping 866 people move from homelessness to stable accommodation and securing foster care placements for 372 country children who had nowhere else safe to call home.
“The past financial year saw ac.care continue to focus on providing terrific services to country people to help ensure they have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships,” chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said.
Key agency-wide ac.care statistics for 2019/20
* 278 people avoided homelessness with early intervention support
* 1304 people accessed ac.care’s homelessness service
* 866 people moved from homelessness into stable accommodation
* 208 families opened their homes and hearts as foster carers with ac.care
* 372 children found homes with local foster carers
* 37 children were supported in our 24/7 residential care homes
* 722 people in the Limestone Coast were supported with family mediation and post-separation support
* 2029 people were supported in a crisis with financial help and food assistance
* 412 people managed a difficult financial situation with the support of financial counselling
SUPPORT DELIVERED: ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks has reflected on a challenging year for the agency as regional communities were hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the support of the community and our ongoing delivery on government contracts, we continue to develop a sustainable financial model and have staff and volunteers that demonstrate their incredible commitment to country people every day, clearly exhibiting the behaviours associated with our values of compassion, adaptability, relationships and excellence.”
Another highlight of the year was opening of the ac.care Murraylands Centre, consolidating staff from various sites at one central location, which helped enhance a “one team” approach and provided convenient access to various services at one premises for clients.
Key appointments of Aboriginal staff, including senior Aboriginal advisor Kathy Rigney, were also acknowledged.
In his annual report, Mr Maddocks acknowledged the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic had a devastating impact on regional communities, which would take years to recover, but the agency adapted to continue to support country people through the challenging and unpredictable times.
“The resilience of ac.care and its people has shone through this time,” he said.
“Our team quickly adapted to new ways of working whilst remaining focused on supporting our clients and we were able to keep the doors open at our sites and maintain service delivery.”
This month’s annual general meeting marked a significant milestone for the agency as long-serving board convenor Michael Bleby of Millicent stepped down after 25 years as chairman.
“The contribution Mike made to country communities through his leadership of ac.care cannot be measured,” Mr Maddocks said.
“He has steered ac.care through significant changes and substantial growth of the organisation that now has over 250 staff working across multiple regions after the agency began in Mount Gambier in 1986.”
Mount Gambier’s Rick Fisher was appointed as the new board convenor, while Mike continues to serve on a committee focused on the care governance of ac.care.
“My aim is to ensure we can be confident we connect with people and their communities, guide children to safe and fulfilling lives, support families and help reduce need in regional areas,” Mr Fisher said.
The full annual report is available online.
Do you need financial or emergency support, want to contribute to ac.care or would like to know more about becoming a foster carer? Call 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273) or visit ac.care.org.au
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