“Having an impact can take many shapes and forms.”
For Uniting Communities our most important and enduring impact happens through the interactions our staff have with people – in their homes, in the community or in one of our many facilities across South Australia.
Helping people and families through crisis, to grow and live independently, to enjoy and to flourish is why we exist. It is what our more than 1,500 staff and volunteers are striving to do each and every day as we reach out and connect with more than 74,000 South Australians. It is what we are enormously proud of and what, through the ongoing review of our programs and services, we seek to continually improve upon.
The past 12 months has featured many highlights as we have responded to increasing public scrutiny on the delivery and accountability of community and health services. The Aged Care and Disability Royal Commissions signal ongoing community concerns over the quality and safety of services for people experiencing vulnerability.
Like others, we have needed to positively respond to both the growing concerns and expectations around how services and care are delivered. Our commitment to quality was acknowledged through receiving both Team and Organisation State LASA Awards for excellence in Age Services in 2019 and the positive profiling of our nutrition programs in residential aged care in the national media.
Whilst building confidence in the quality of what we deliver we have also sought to grow our community presence through, amongst other new initiatives:
- Successfully establishing a new Elder Abuse Unit within our Uniting Communities Law Centre.
- Established a new LGBTQI counselling service with the support of Dulwich Centre.
- Continuing the successful transition of participants to the NDIS including through our bespoke Homelink service providing in-home care and living options.
In the last year, Uniting Communities has also delivered high impact in a highly visual and concrete way – through the creation of a new vertical inner-city integrated village in the form of U City.
One of Uniting Communities’ most ambitious initiatives, U City was completed in late June 2019 after more than six years of conception, planning and construction. As a world-leading example of how different functions and populations can be successfully brought together as a supportive community, U City has literally broken new ground.
It is helping to transform not only how retirement living and accessible accommodation can meet the needs of a changing demographic but how high rise CBD developments can recreate a sense of place and community through creative design and mixed use.
U City is quickly demonstrating how it is becoming a destination in its own right – beyond its many functions as a social services hub, commercial, retail and hospitality precinct, function and conference centre, and a place to call a home.
The journey in creating U City, in responding to the increasing demands to deliver high quality services and in continuing to grow our footprint in the South Australian community is underpinned by a strong and committed workforce and governance.
In the course of the year, Uniting Communities farewelled three Board members who had made significant contributions to its governance and particularly to the development and execution of U City.
Greg Box, Cathie Brown and Astrid Kuivasaari have provided leadership and insights from their particular fields of expertise and each has contributed to the shape of U City. We thank them very much.
David Caudrey joined the Board this year. We are gratefully benefitting from his depth of knowledge and experience in the delivery of human services – particularly in the areas of ageing and disability.
Thank you for your ongoing support. Please enjoy reading about the work we’re doing in the community in this Impact Statement.
Sue and Simon