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President’s Report 2016

In February 2017 it will be five years since we first began our search for answers. The need to create a secure place for our family members to live has taken us beyond quiet acceptance of our situation to a point where we have become proactive and firmly maintain our belief that answers can be found.

In the past year we have thrown ourselves into fundraising. The need to establish our own funding base is the driving force behind our efforts and I must thank the members of the committee for the hard work they have put into this project. As ageing parents of disabled people the need to make a commitment to raising funds to ensure a safe future for our family members has been a difficult task but the dedication and resourcefulness of all our members has never faltered. 

In February we began our first crowdfunding campaign. We were interviewed about our campaign on ABC radio and, following this an interview with some of our members was featured on Channel Ten’s ‘The Project’. Our stories feature in our videos, they feature on our website, they regularly crop up in our Facebook page, and each month the need for a ‘Place to Call Home’ for our kids becomes even more urgent.

In the past year we conducted our second QLO Short Story Prize, Access Australia Group donated the $1000 prize and entries were of a high standard. This was a very good promotional tool but held limited potential as a fundraising event. With the assistance of a City of Greater Bendigo Community Grant we completed the production of four videos about the situation of our parents and established our own YouTube channel. We then embarked on a speaking program – speaking to several Bendigo Rotary and Lions Clubs to spread the word about our situation and our need for support.

 

At the conclusion of 2016 several projects are under way:

* In July 2015 we commissioned a researcher to interview six families and create a profile of each, a profile that would not only tell their stories but also articulate their hopes for a secure home for their children. This paper was distributed amongst our supporters, to our state and federal government representatives and is featured on our website.

* We are collaborating with an academic from LaTrobe University Bendigo to create a database that will record the needs of our members. Personal interviews are being conducted to ensure that the information collected is accurate. This is a vital project that will help determine the path we take regarding the type and scale of accommodation we need.

* Discussions have been commenced with the Uniting Church at Marong with a view to forming a partnership leading to the development of housing on the land which is part of the church property in High Street Marong. Early in 2017 a joint committee will meet to discuss further developments.

* We are very grateful for the generosity of so many people who have contributed to our progress and I must offer our sincere thanks to all involved. Although 2016 was an exciting and satisfying year for Quality Living Options, I am confident that that this coming year will be even better than the last.

Noela Foreman

President QLOB