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This past year has seemed to go very quickly and I am sure this by alendar

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This past year has seemed to go very quickly and I am sure this

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									RAYMOND TERRACE NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING SEPTEMBER 25TH 2008

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS REPORT

This past year has seemed to go very quickly and I am sure this has
to do with the busyness of the centre.
We continue to offer partnerships to services that do outreach in
our centre by providing accommodation and support.
We could offer a lot more services in partnership through outreach
services if we had the facilities. i.e. more rooms
Since we moved here in November 2006 we have been trying to
obtain a demountable that would provide alternative and affordable
accommodation, not only for outreach services, but for a variety of
local services and community members that also require a larger
space. We have not been successful, as of yet, and we will
continue to explore many avenues until we are successful.
Part of our 3 year strategic plan is to increase our membership
therefore making us more representative of the community and
more robust as a community organisation. I believe this to be a
work in progress as we go from under a dozen members to a
membership of 50 registered organisations and individuals and still
counting.
A very exciting development has been that we have finally set up
our own website and even though it is not quite completed as I
write this (it will also be an ongoing process) the main structure is
there. The website address is www.rtnc.org.au
All the services that we have partnerships with, including those
that provide outreach from our centre will be featured on our
website as well as their being a link to their websites
.
Our peak body the Local Community Services Association based
in Sydney (LCSA) has been very generous and supportive to our
organisation in this past year. Brian Smith, the CEO of LCSA has
visited 3 times in the last 12 months. Originally he was invited to
present to our board and staff team the Results Based
Accountability reporting system that our funding body (DoCS) will
be introducing for our reporting requirements in the future. This
was followed by presenting it again (at my request) for the Port
Stephens Interagency. Finally Brian contacted me when he was to
travel around parts of NSW with the author and Grass roots
organiser, Michael Jacoby Brown, who had been brought out here
from America for the LCSA Conference. The first two visits were
very helpful and interesting but the final visit was absolutely
inspiring and so enjoyable. All of the staff team seemed to walk
with a bit of a bounce in their gait for several days after. The icing
on the cake of that visit was that we all received a free signed copy
of Michael Jacoby Brown’s book, “Building Powerful Community
Organizations” – a very accessible and superb book on community
organising.
This year we have employed an Indigenous artist to work on a few
projects at the youth Centre (The Youthie) as well as at the
Neighbourhood Centre. Shaun Lee Newman has been teaching
some of the young people at the Youthie Indigenous painting skills
and has more recently started on a mural on the front verandah of
the Neighbourhood Centre. Shaun has been extremely generous
with his time and talent and the artwork he has done for both the
youth and neighbourhood centre is a joy to see.
Some of our new partnerships this past year are with:

  • Hunter Region No Interest Loan
  • Hunter River High and Irrawang High – Club Sandwich
     Project
  • New Horizons – Employment Consultant for disabilities
  • YACAABA Service – counselling service for women and
     men.
  • Hunter Women’s Centre –counselling service for women
     affected by D. V.
  • Hunter Gambling Service
  • Work Directions
  • Kaiyu - personal support program with people with a
     mental illness
  • Community Housing Limited – community housing
     provider.
  All of these services are make a real contribution to
  strengthening our community.

Community Bus
The Port Stephens Council is about to finalise the process of
handing the community bus over to the Neighbourhood Centre.
The bus is to be registered in our name on October 2nd and the Port
Stephens Council is very generously donating $5000.00 towards
registration, insurance and fuel costs. As well as this they have
organised for the bus to be prepared mechanically for registration.
Increase in Hard ship
An average of 30 people a day, 120 per 4 day week, 6240 people
per year walk through the front door of our centre to use one of our
services or an outreach service accommodated here. One of the
main services provided at our centre is emergency relief for
individuals or families that are in crisis and often it is not only a
financial crisis.
The increase in hardship for the community members that use our
emergency relief service has increased dramatically and can be
heartbreaking to see, especially when there are children involved.
They may have been made homeless due to the high cost and
shortage of rental properties. They may not be able to pay for their
utility bills and/or have had it disconnected, do not have enough
food, someone in their family may be sick and the costs related to
that has put them in a financial crisis. The reasons are endless as is
the increase in the number of people requiring the service. We
received an additional sum of money this year because of the high
demand over the last 6 months of the financial year.
Unfortunately we have not received an increase for the new
financial year as the aged pensioners benefit is not counted in the
statistics when looking at the number of people on benefits in the
area.

The fortnightly outreach “harm minimisation” nurses’ position
funded by COAG (Council of Australian Grants) was not refunded
this financial year. We also have no D&A counsellor even though
we are a major needle and syringe exchange outlet. The only
locally available D&A counsellor attends the community health
centre one half day a week on Fridays, when our centre is closed.
I am presently in negotiations with the Harm Minimisations’ Team
Leader to see if a replacement nurse and/or counsellor can be
allocated for our service in the near future.

The Hunter Region No Interest Loans Service is in the process of
being reestablished as it has been not functioning for over a year
now. I am part of a working party that is aiming to recommend a
“start-up” plan and after the AGM will continue on as a board
member. It is a very much needed service especially in the current
economic climate.

One of my highlights for this year has been, after a lot of intense
and persistent advocating and support; I have assisted three
families in being re-housed that would not have otherwise been
housed without our service. Then again, it is also rather
disheartening that the basic need of having housing can be so
unattainable. The lack of affordable housing is a big problem in
our and many other communities.

I would like to express my ongoing appreciation to the hard
working volunteer board members (including ex-officio members)
of the Raymond Terrace Neighbourhood Centre as well as the
volunteers of our Emergency Relief Project. There are also a new
group of volunteers for the Club Sandwich project whose efforts
are very much appreciated – especially by the hungry kids.
Roby South - Chairperson
Richard South - Financial Advisor and ex-officio
Kerry McMurray - Treasurer
Ray Davies - Secretary
Gail Crawford – Board Member
Charlie Richardson – Board Member

  A special tribute to the late Helen Petagna who worked and
supported the Youth Centre as a volunteer tutor and then as a
Board Member of the centre, before her tragic death in
November 2007

The whole of the staff team of the Raymond Terrace
Neighbourhood Centre and its projects has my gratitude and
respect for their commitment and hard work for the community
and their loyalty and support to the Centre.

Raelene Henderson – Administration Officer and Bookkeeper
                    Extradonaire

Sue Wingate – Front Desk Receptionist

Danielle Ward – Coordinator for Port Stephens Youth Project
Anne Hayter – Coordinator for Port Stephens Youth Options
               Project
Mathew Breen – Coordinator for “The Youthie” and YOP

Kelly Mann – Relief Coordinator for YOP and now Assistant
Coordinator for “The Youthie”

Shaun Lee Newman – Indigenous Artist

Johanna Reygersberg – ERF volunteer for 6.5 yrs.

Rose Salter – ERF volunteer for 5 years

Alison Ducat – ERF volunteer for 1 year

Myrtle Iverson – The Club Sandwich

Kay Bonomini – The Club Sandwich

Judith Austin – The Club Sandwich

Valerie Martin – The Club Sandwich

								
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