In what continues to be an ever changing and exciting service delivery landscape, Relationships Australia Tasmania continued to provide high quality services; and as a collective, we have achieved a lot this past financial year.
We are proud to have achieved accreditation against the National Standards for Mental Health Care Services and accreditation against the Safeguarding Children standards.
We also renewed and received funding for several programs. We received a new five-year contract for all our Family Law Services, as well as a new 2-3-year contract for our Community Based Mental Health Care Service. SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY (SUSC) received a further four-year contract for the SUSC Schools Program from the Department of Education. SUSC also received new additional funding for the Sports Program from the Tasmanian Community Fund; both programs are seeing incredible results.
The past year has seen RA Tas formalise our partnership with SUSC. RA Tas now oversees the management of SUSC’s business functions – finance, administration and fundraising. Under the new partnership, RA Tas will also manage the SUSC fund, which, is now under the steerage of a dedicated subcommittee – including RA Board members, staff and SUSC Board members.
Of note, we have been actively leading the trial-site pilot for suicide prevention on the North West Coast of Tasmania. We also trialled and evaluated the use of a dedicated Intake Worker in Post Separation Services. This trial has seen great results for both clients and staff.
Now being trialled in our early intervention services in the south.
Internally, we have developed a social media strategy, a consumer engagement strategy and signed onto the Tasmanian Communications Charter. The charter guides organisations to adopt best practice when communicating to staff or the broader community about issues such as suicide and mental health. RA Tas has also developed a Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan (CAP), with the help from our Suicide Prevention Team. The Suicide Prevention Team work with organisations and community groups across the State to develop CAPs; we are proud to have created a CAP of our own, for RA Tas.
We have also been exploring partnerships with smaller community groups, to support them as they become established in delivering services and programs in the community. For example, we partnered with the Positive Bod Squad to support the running of their first event which aimed to reduce stigma surrounding body image – particularly related to young girls.
In 2018 we kicked-off the consultation and design process for our new five-year strategic plan, which has now been signed off by the Board. We have worked hard to ensure that we have a set of values and priority areas which provide RA Tas with a clear strategic direction and influence how we go about our work.
Internally, we farewelled our Manager of Counselling and Community Services in the North and North West, Yvette Cehtel who left us to take up the role of CEO of the Women’s Legal Service, of which we are very proud.
We also farewell our beloved President, Mary Bent, who has been on the Board of RA Tas since 2010, and President since 2014. Mary has been a calm, considered and wise leader and has guided the Board, as well as myself, through many challenges over the years. I wish Mary all the best in her retirement and thank her for her many years of dedicated voluntary service.
I was required to spend a significant amount of the year away from work to care for my unwell husband. This time away would not have been possible without the support of my Leadership Team. Thank you to Michael Kelly, who stepped into the role of CEO and to the Leadership Team who each took on additional work and duties during this time.
Thank you also, to all our staff who work tirelessly every day to make a difference to our clients. Our strength is in our people, and the feedback we receive from clients clearly demonstrates the impact they achieve.
Chief Executive Officer
Relationships Australia Tasmania