Monday, September 3, 2012

The year in review - Co-Chair Report (Annual Report - Part 2)

We are proud to present the 2011/2012 annual report for WGWG.

This has been a year of growth for the group. Our membership has almost doubled in the last 12 months, beginning with 25 members and new volunteers, and ending with 48. We re-launched the men’s coming-out group Newcomers which has been popular with over 15 newcomers attending. School’s Out has significantly widened its reach across the Wellington region and we have taken on board new activities such as finding accommodation for homeless GLBTI youth. Services provided by Helpline increased by 13%, the Lesbian Drop-In has remained steady and only the HIV (Cuthbert) grant funding work has reduced due to a smaller number of funding requests.

Looking forward to 2012/2013, there are several changes on the horizon:

• We are considering further expansion of the School’s Out programme with an increased focus on education in schools.
• OutlineNZ has proposed that WGWG volunteers take their 0800 national calls for two nights per week from early 2013. If this occurs the local Wellington helpline is likely to close and all Wellingtonians will be encouraged to call the national 0800 number.
• We may undertake a community survey to help determine our future five-year direction as a group.
• As discussed at our strategic planning days in 2011, changes to our management structure may bring improvements to the way WGWG operates.
• We could build on the number of media statements we made this year and increase our own promotion and community interaction.

The remainder of this section of the co-chair report acknowledges our administrative progress in 2011/2012. The subsequent sections summarise the impact that WGWG initiatives have had on the GLBTI community in the Wellington region.

Volunteers join for many different reasons and ‘giving back to the community’ is often one of them. It is great to have such a wide range of experience within WGWG and much credit goes to Bill and Ted for giving their time to the initial meetings and the intake training days. Many thanks to everyone else who has made the new recruits feel welcome.

Social Activities
In recent years we’ve been more flexible than in the past and encouraged volunteers to help in areas they feel most suited to, rather than just through the helpline. This has proved to be a successful approach. We’ve also increased our social activities which include both members and people who are attending the ‘coming out’ groups. Marc and Jo have assisted with these – a visit to the Emperor’s Bathhouse, group attendance for “That’s So Gay” at Bats and a condom-packing event at the Awhina Centre. Bill and Chris have generously offered their homes for the summer BBQs.

Paid Employees
In October 2011 we formally appointed Kassie and George to the part-time paid positions of School’s Out Facilitation Co-ordinator and School’s Out Program Leader respectively. This is the first time we’ve employed two people. It has proved to be a huge success for School’s Out, as outlined in the below report. Carl’s work as their weekly supervisor with Stu has been superb and highly valued. The work Ted and Chris have done behind the scenes to organise the salaries and the tax payments is also very much appreciated.

Speaker Sessions
During 2012, members and new trainees have attended a range of monthly speaker sessions organised by Carl and Suze. Speakers have been from the transgender group Agenda, the PSA union, religious group Galaxies and the NZ Prostitutes Collective. These sessions ensure our members are aware of issues affecting the community. They are also open to the coming-out group members to help them through the coming out process.

Internet and Promohomos
Awareness of WGWG and our internet presence has also grown throughout the year thanks to a $2,000 grant from the TG McCarthy Trust which went towards our website upgrade, and a lot of effort by Alexis, Phil, Ian, Ted and the promohomos team. We started the year with 187 facebook friends and ended with 254. By June 2012 we were also receiving 660 monthly visits to our website and 571 monthly visits to our blog.

Treasurer and Funding Committee
Funding came in steadily throughout the year which has meant our planned spending and income was on track, as shown in the financial accounts. Thanks goes to Kura and the members of the funding committee, as well as to Chris for his work in the treasurer’s role and for implementing a number of improvements including a change to electronic banking.

The executive team this year has been Chris as Treasurer, Sara as Secretary and three co-chairs - Stu, Kura through to May 2012 and Dominique from June through to August 2012. Our successes have been largely due to the members who have taken on both formal and informal leadership roles in WGWG. That includes Alexis leading the website review, Kura taking a leadership role with the funding committee, Bill taking responsibility for our induction days, Ross being our liaison with social workers for the Cuthbert funds, George, Kassie and the School’s Out facilitators for being so pro-active, Conner for being our link to Tranzform, Sara, Jason, Bill and Chris for your time and effort with homeless youth, Jo for leading the Lesbian Drop-In and Bill and Greg for your key roles with Newcomers. To you and everyone else who led the way, many thanks.

Stu Donaldson and Dominique De Witt Co-Chairs, Wellington Gay Welfare Group Incorporated 21 August 2012