Chair of the Board DR SUE KING

Uniting Communities’ year whirled past in a flurry of innovation, planning, service delivery and advocacy. Our commitment to contributing to a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish kept us grounded in the present but looking to the future. While our U City building started to be a very visible sign of our future orientation, many in the organisation were contributing to the equally challenging task of preparing for quality service delivery in an age of consumer directed care. Throughout Uniting Communities we have worked to put those who use our services – current and future – at the centre of our work and planning.

This year, some major collaborative initiatives were recognised. Our commitment to promoting gender equality and respectful relationships with a culture of zero tolerance of violence against women in our workplace was recognised in our White Ribbon Accreditation. Our commitment to carbon neutrality, stemming from our appreciation that those most vulnerable in our community will be hardest hit by climate change, was recognised in the Premiers’ Climate Change Awards. We appreciate this recognition and the changes that we achieve in social policy through our constant advocacy on behalf of the least powerful in our community.

Uniting Communities’ achievements are the result of the skilful hard work of staff, volunteers and contractors. The Board acknowledges and thanks them for this work and, in particular, we appreciate the leadership of the Executive team who are forging an exciting future as they respond to the challenges we have identified.

This leadership is shared with the Uniting Communities’ Board and I thank my colleagues and our external advisors for their contribution this year. We have asked much of them and they have given generously. We gratefully farewelled Jason Ting and Tania Sargent from our Board this year, and have welcomed Mike Flynn and Jörg Strobel.

A highlight of this year was the recognition of our Chief Executive, Simon Schrapel through the awarding of a Member of the Order of Australia honour in January. Uniting Communities is a fortunate beneficiary of Simon’s energetic leadership and perceptive advocacy on behalf of young people and those in need. It was very pleasing to see Simon’s long-term commitment recognised nationally and we warmly congratulate him.

Social change is a complex process and the list of organisations, committees, coalitions and forums through which Simon works at both state and national levels to achieve outcomes for children and families is a testament to his passion and leadership. Without doubt, this recognition for Simon’s sustained commitment to building community services to meet the needs of children and their families was very well deserved. The Board was delighted to add its congratulations to those of the wider social welfare community.

Now, we look ahead to the next chapter for Uniting Communities with anticipation as we continue to build strong communities and support people to live the best lives they can.

Chief Executive SIMON SCHRAPEL

It’s people, not buildings, programs, assets or history that make organisations what they are.

Nothing could be truer when it comes to Uniting Communities. Our footprint across the South Australian community is both diverse and impressive and, with the advent of new and growing services, our reach and impact continues to grow.

However, what makes Uniting Communities tick, and enables us to achieve the impact we seek for families, households and communities, is our people. Our dedicated and committed staff, volunteers and supporters – together with those who help to govern and steer our organisation – are at the heart of all our achievements.

Uniting Communities is undertaking significant transformation – perhaps some of the most important and dramatic change in our long history. Such change is only possible with the full engagement of our people.

Adopting a ‘customer-first’ approach across our broad suite of services while maintaining our passion for social justice and a community focus has required a highly adaptable workforce. These have been critical characteristics as Uniting Communities embraces the opportunities presented through reforms in the provision of services for South Australians living with disability and for older people.

While change will continue to be a strong feature of our future, affirmation of our existing underlying quality and achievement came through attaining Australian Service Excellence Standards Award Level recertification.

Sue King Chairperson

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This came with strong commendation for the consistently positive ethos and commitment to excellence demonstrated through our people.

It is this alignment to our core values that also attracts the generosity of our volunteers who maintain many of our essential programs, from Lifeline to Streetlink. With a commitment to innovation, our staff also answered the demand for new responses to social problems – for example, Jo’s, a therapeutic residential home for teenagers in out-of- home care and Streetlink Plus, a mobile health service for people sleeping rough in the city. These are just two of many examples of our capacity to adapt, innovate and, above all, respond to changing community needs and expectations.

Thank you to the people who enable Uniting Communities to deliver many of our State’s most valuable community programs and advocacy – our staff, our committed leadership and management teams, and our many supporters. Uniting Communities is, first and foremost, about your vision and tenacity.

Simon Schrapel AM Chief Executive

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