As we head into a new year, it is timely to reflect that the festive season and holiday period presents different emotions for each family. I hope that all families were able to spend time with each other in support and reflection during the summer months.
We enjoyed a successful 2017, with one of the most memorable moments being our official property announcement in July. Actions of the Federal and State Governments helped us gain ownership over part of the land our main base in Malvern is and Very Special Kids now has security of tenure and we can plan for the long term. We have a few long term planning projects in scope, including our Hospice upgrade. So in some ways 2018 will be a year in which we undertake some significant steps towards our longer term future viability. Once again a huge thank you to Chain Reaction for enabling us to invest in significant research in planning an upgrade to our Hospice, ensuring it will remain a valuable support facility for families for decades to come.
Another major focus in 2018 will be the establishment of two new support services for families, thanks to new grants and a partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service. A new transport assistance service for families to access respite will be trialed over the next two years for regional families who reside a great distance from Malvern. In addition to our existing music and art therapies, we have now also been awarded funds to add physiotherapy for children during their stay.
The valuable contribution of our volunteers was recognised with not just a special Christmas event this year, but Very Special Kids also received the Excellence Award at the Victorian State Volunteering Awards. I am inspired by the support we received from over 1,000 volunteers. On behalf of all the families and staff, I would like to thank all our volunteers for your ongoing devotion and support.
We are also reviewing our major fundraising events with our corporate partners and planning ways to increase our income. It’s a big challenge, but there is so much more that we can achieve though the generous support of our corporate partners and community donors.
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and 2018.
Michael Wasley, CEO, Very Special Kids