David Gibson | CEO Report:

It’s that time of the year again where we take a moment to reflect on the previous years financial reports and activities highlights just how much we have achieved with such a small group of high dedicated and motivated people. I wish to personally thank all the staff for their hard work and commitment to the community we serve.

In 2018/19 we have perhaps done so much more in 1 year than in any of the 98 years before hand. Some of the highlights from the year that was are:

  • We moved offices to our new home in Dodd Street next to Lake Monger. I know many of you enjoy the safety and professionalism of our new offices – as well as the many new activities we hold from our new location like the walking group around one of the most beautiful lakes in Perth.
  • We rebranded to Access Plus WA Deaf from the old name of the WA Deaf Society Inc. Our new name and logo came from you the community and we are proud to build on the great tradition of the old WA Deaf Society as we create a new identity for ourselves in the new NDIS world.
  • Last year we also undertook an extensive community consultation process to refreshing and renew our strategic direction, purpose and way of working, with values that better reflect what we all stand for.
  • During the year we also changed the way we design and deliver our services and updated our policies and procedures. Our philosophy is now built around person centred care to ensure all our services are provided in a way that is respectful of, and responsive to, the needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in our community.
  • And last but not least generating a profit for the year of over $75,000 is impressive in what are difficult time financially. I am also happy to report our investments grew to $2.2 million and the proceeds from the sale of the East Perth Property are held safe in a new investment account as the board decides on a future location and premises.

Can I thank the Board for their guidance and support of Access Plus over the past year to help us achieve all of these things and more. This year we see several directors retire and I wish to thank them all for their commitment and dedication, especially to the Chair Annette Perrin.

Can I also thank all of our staff who have worked incredibly hard to deliver on these changes and as a result we have seen a massive increase in services delivered across all areas. The GM’s and Team Leaders reports highlight these areas of growth in detail, however for me what is most powerful is that we supported over 50% more Deaf and Hard of Hearing last year than we did the year before.

This is why we are here – to serve you the community. I am very proud to report that we are also employing more Deaf and Hard of Hearing people than ever before with over 30 employed in a variety of roles from Team Leaders, Auslan Tutors, Support Workers, Administration and Accounts to our Cleaners. When you choose us as your NDIS provider you are supporting the WA Deaf Community as we employ more Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and the profits stays here in WA.

As a profit for purpose organisation we invested back into the community last year in a variety of ways. We re-established the Community Christmas Party – and event I have fond memories of from my own childhood at Hay St Perth and Jack Levitizke. We also had an incredibly successful Deaf Australia Day at LMRC last year. After discussions with WAAD, Access Plus took over organising the Easter Picnic on a continued basis building on the tradition that was established back in 1927 by the Deaf Society.

We also held successful events like the Pride in Deaf and subsided opened captioned movies for the community as well as provided free interpreting and support for individuals in need.

When I think that back in 1921, 12 deaf people met at the home of Mr RB Jefferys at 47 Railway Parade, Mt Lawley to establish the WA Adult Deaf and Dumb Society. I doubt that they ever imagined what that society would become today in 2019 and how it would change the lives of the community it serves.

Today Access Plus WA Deaf is highly regarded by Government and the disability sector across WA as our advice is sought on a range of issues as we advocate for the Deaf and Hard of hearing.

None of this is possible without the support of you the community. Our mantra of “access for the deaf and hard of hearing at the centre of everything we do” will always guide us.

I look forward to an exciting year ahead as we continue to grow and deliver more services across all of WA, employ more Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and give more of our profits back to the community in events and supports.