President Report: Peter Harrison

It is with immense pleasure to present and welcome you to the Y Ballarat and Y Ballarat Youth Services Community Impact Report for 2022/23.

We continue to believe in the power of inspired young people, it is our DNA; to educate and empower young people to flourish in a united and sustainable world, where we will protect the rights of young people, amplifying their voices to regenerate our world and create the brightest future imaginable. This has been enshrined in all the activities, hard work, challenges and successes throughout the year.

When the Board and Executive came together to develop and launch our Strategic Plan – Towards Vision 2030;  we knew that the continued ability of the organisation and our people to be flexible to the events of the world and the needs young people and our communities would hold us in good stead as we launched Year 1 of the strategy in July 2022.

Over the past year we have continued to see the legacy of the pandemic impacting on our people and communities in new and different ways, with the cost-of-living crisis and the impact of workforce shortages having a significant impact on day-to-day interactions. We have acknowledged our role ensuring we remain a constant to our communities by providing access to all of our programs for our community members, firstly by having services open and available, and by providing cost-effective access. We were proud to sign up to the Free Kinder initiative launched in 2023 as part of the Best Start, Best Life reform, removing a further significant barrier to kindergarten access for families.

The needs of young people continue to evolve, and we continue to witness the impact of the pandemic and how it is changing the way in which we provide support, empower and stand alongside young people now for a brighter future. As a board, we hear our young people, and remain steadfast in our commitment to standing alongside you in making a better future for you.

I’d like to thank my fellow Board Directors for their support in my first term as President and acknowledge previous President Colin Thompson for his legacy in the role over the preceding 3-year period that has seen the Y Ballarat remain resilient, grow and flourish. I’d also like to acknowledge the role of Sarah Pope who resigned from the Board in December 2022 and who served as a Board Director over the past 4 years, most recently as Vice-President. Thank you for your contribution.

A successful recruitment campaign to replenish the board and add further experience was undertaken and we are delighted to welcome Jacki Whitwell, a previous staff member of Y Australia and experienced consultant and advocate for social impact; and Jack Gaffney, Lawyer from Heinz Law to our Board.

With success and challenges a part of any journey, it is the people who that matter most and I send my sincerest thanks to all of the Y staff, my fellow board members, the Senior Leaders and Executive team for their continuous dedication and commitment to the communities of the Y.  Our hardworking, creative and driven teams are the reason the Y has the impact in communities that we do, ensuring children and young people have access to safe and fun environments that provide opportunity for a bright future.

Congratulations and thank you.