President’s Report October 2017

Whilst the arrival of the NDIS to Bendigo in May this year, has momentarily diverted our attention from fundraising, the members of QLOB have held their focus on the need for a safe future for our adults. In February interviews aimed at surveying the accommodation needs of members and the extent and timing of their requirements were concluded. Professor Iacono from La Trobe University assisted with recording and summarising the information collected. A database is currently being set up to record what each family needs and when.

 Our fundraising continues. We held our dinner at the Bendigo Stadium in March and although we thoroughly enjoyed the evening were disappointed with the financial result. As a result we have chosen to hold our next QLO dinner at the Bendigo Club in late October. Early this year the Strathdale Quilters raffled a beautiful quilt with funds going to support QLO. During their exhibition of quilts over the Easter period many people competed to win the desired prize resulting in generous funds raised toward our projects.

We will be holding another plant sale in November and an application has been lodged for a sausage sizzle at Bunnings in future. . As part of our program to promote our needs, we completed a presentation to the Lions Club of Marong and Maiden Gully.  A new video is also planned to update our activities and will be funded by Carer Support Services Bendigo.

In late 2016 a partnership between QLO and the Marong Uniting Church was proposed as a solution toward our accommodation problems. Discussions focused on the possibility of leasing land adjacent to the Church and building on it. A project control group was formed to steer the project and an MOU to define the intentions of each group was finally signed. Recently, the decision was made not to proceed with the idea of leasing the land due to anticipated difficulties raising funds. Any progress with this plan is dependent on the agreement of  the Property Trust of the Uniting Church of Victoria and Tasmania - a project that is still being considered.

 During April we were contacted by several NDIS registered housing companies offering to assist us by investing in land and building suitable accommodation - if our adults qualified for the NDIS Special Disability Accommodation support. This was very encouraging, but we have not yet been able to assess whether our adults will qualify for this program due to the lack of advice or assistance from the NDIS planners covering the Loddon region.  Since it is vital to our cause  - we continue to research this option.

Thanks to everyone who supported us during this time of change, we are gradually working through NDIS planning for the care of our adults and now look to the future for the ‘Place to Call Home’ for our adults that we need.

Since my report at the end of the financial year 2016-7 several new additions to our project have been achieved.  After much discussion the distinctive identity of the proposed housing project has been confirmed with the title – Amara@Marong. This may need to be adjusted to adapt to another site if necessary but the title 'Amara' was popular with the members. We are now in the process of filming an update on our 2015 videos – financed by Carer Support Services.  E-plus architects have come on board, bringing their expertise to help prepare our project to the concept stage and the search for land for our project continues.

Thank you

Noela Foreman

October 2017