My first full year as CEO of YMCA Victoria and Kingswim has been unlike anything I ever could have imagined. The leadership team and I had to make some of toughest decisions of our careers and I am truly grateful for the support of our whole Y community: staff, volunteers, our Board, our local council partners, our customers, members and participants – everybody who has the Y in their lives and had to make a sacrifice this year for the greater good.
I’ve been blown away by our people and I truly believe that the Y has come out the other side of COVID-19 stronger. We are now more determined than ever before to support our communities, to support young people, to support those who were left behind as we faced lockdowns, social distancing restrictions and 5km radius travel limits.
The Y is one of the world’s oldest and largest social enterprises. We do not rely on government funding and in normal times only 3% of our revenue is government-funded. But without the help we received from the Federal Government (JobKeeper, the Early Childhood Education and Care package, as well as transition payments), in addition to help from the Victorian State Government ($1.6 million funding for Virtual Y), as well as the concessions granted by our local government partners, we would not be in the stable position we find ourselves in today. For this reason, I want to thank all levels of government for the support we received this year. It truly did save us.
The road to recovery will take time, but I’ve never been more confident in the role the Y will play for our communities. Mental wellbeing support, opportunities to connect socially, opportunities to participate in sport and recreation - the services the Y provides for the community have never been more vital.
We have embraced innovation and collaboration at the Y more than ever this year, with cross-functional teams working together to design and implement necessary changes. We introduced an online booking system for recreation customers, QR codes for COVID-tracing, outdoor exercise programs, as well as organisation-wide COVID-safe practices to keep everybody safe. We also pivoted the way we communicate, centralising our customer calls, building new websites and delivering weekly webinars for all staff and volunteers to stay updated and connected. Our people acted swiftly to ensure we were able to serve our community in this ever-changing environment and I take my hat off to our passionate staff for this, many of whom worked around the clock to get the job done.
Of course, it can be difficult to think back to a pre-COVID existence, but in this report you will find stories, impact stats and financial information that spans the financial year of 2019-2020. From the Carlton Baths’ Queer Soiree, the support we provided during the bushfires, to launching Virtual Y, I hope you enjoy looking back on the year that was.
After embracing technology in our daily lives like never before, it is fitting that this year’s annual report is completely digital for the first time.
I look forward to what the next year has in store, knowing that after this year, the Y is ready for anything.
More from our leaders
The past year has been one of the most challenging years in the Y Victoria’s 176-year history. We entered 2020 as a nation devastated by the bushfires raging across Australia. Then, as we began to recover from a tragic summer, the global coronavirus pandemic turned everything we had planned, both at work and in our personal lives, upside down.
Unprecedented. It’s probably the most overused word in 2020, but accurately describes the devastating events we as Victorians, as a nation and as a globe have experienced this year. Before I reflect on the year that was, I want to thank our staff and volunteers. Your hard work and dedication is always inspiring, but this year you have shown incredible resilience and made sacrifices that have helped the Y get through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s hard to put into words how grateful and appreciative I am of you.