At Kookaburra Kids we believe all children who are affected by parents with a mental illness deserve to be supported, to be valued and provided with the opportunity to reach their potential.
The 2015-2016 year saw many new achievements, successes and events for Kookaburra Kids, as well as some organisational changes.
A major highlight and commendation is the opening of our new regional office at Bulli, with a new staff member now providing support to the south coast region. This staff member has been building referrals in the region as well as organising camps and activity days for kids in this area. The office opened in March 2016 with supporter relationships already having been established and over 100 children from this area having attended Kookaburra Kids camps and activities.
Our camps and activity days were conducted further afield in the last year expanding into the Illawarra region, Western Sydney and even the snow! There were 11 camps including a team leader training camp plus a leaders meet and greet. An increase in our activity days and special outings saw 18 being conducted, plus the Annual Christmas picnic and a new highlight for the kids was an invitation to Admiralty House on New Year’s Eve.
Across all of our programs we have delivered services and support to over 1200 children from families affected by mental illness.
This year also saw the launch of a new program called “Girls Taking Flight”. Introduced to extend support beyond the existing camp program “Girls Taking Flight” focuses on assisting a group of young adults in making informed life decisions about their future careers or tertiary study.
Negotiations commenced with the Department of Veteran Affairs for a potential delivery of the Kookaburra Kids program to both serving and ex serving Defence families, in particular those who have been affected by PTSD due to military service. The proposal is a Defence specific program rolled out into all States across the Australia progressively over the next 5 years.
We have continued to attract corporate sponsorship, which is reflected in our substantial increase in revenue and provide the opportunity to increase the number of activities we can offer the children. We are pleased to report that in the last year, further Corporate relationships have been developed with the increase of major strategic partners joining existing major strategic partner SUEZ. We welcome Thales, Payce and Big Sister Foundation, all have committed to multi year partnerships. We welcome these new sponsors on board and will continue to nurture these important corporate relationships for the benefit of both parties.
Additional events were introduced to the Kookaburra Kids Calendar with an exclusive Charity Dinner at NSW Parliament House in March and being included as a supported Charity at Australia’s Biggest Charity Race Day in June. We also enjoyed continued support at a variety of ongoing events such as Sullivan Dewing’s Celebrating Women in Business.
Working together with our staff, funders, community partners and volunteers we were delighted to have produced some outstanding results for the year including:
- The opening of our new South Coast office
- 3 new staff members joining the Kookaburra team
- Three new major strategic partners, making a total of four
- Increased revenue up 30% on last year
- Increase in registrations by 20%
- Being Awarded as Most Outstanding Community Services at the local St George and Sutherland Shire Business Awards
Our success in areas of fundraising and corporate partnerships coupled with improvements in the areas of administration and internal operations resulted in a 30% increase in revenue for the year.
The importance of providing psychological support for our Kookaburra Kids and children identified as in need of this program is paramount to Kookaburra Kids. In order to further reach those who would benefit from the program, referrals are an integral part to our operation. This last year has seen continued referrals from our existing networks, resulting in an increase of children having been registered into the program.
Research also indicates that these children have a 50% higher risk of developing a mental health issue without some form of intervention. Kookaburra Kids provides that intervention by way of delivering our psycho-educational program. Kookabook is a comprehensive research based program focusing on age appropriate mental health information, building resilience, coping strategies and looking after themselves. The “Kookabook” has been identified by the kids as a great take home resource, which can provide them with comfort and information when times are tough at home. Our volunteer psychologists continue to develop the psycho-educational program and deliver training to the volunteer leaders to ensure that the message is consistent and effective.
We are proud to advise that our volunteer base not only continues to be retained, but also grow, and has developed beyond camp and office volunteers to additional support at our Activity Days in the form of our corporate volunteer initiative. This provides our corporate supporters to not only fund an Activity Day, but often allows them to achieve their desired corporate social responsibility while providing team building activities for their staff. This in turn provides Kookaburra Kids with additional help on Activity Days, showing first-hand the benefits of our program, and allows us to build on our corporate relationships.
We value the contribution our Kookaburra Kids volunteers make, and take pride in delivering a quality volunteer training program on an ongoing basis.
Training has also been recognised for paid staff to increase current skills in relation to positions, resulting in a higher standard of the delivery of marketing material, events, relationship building and operational structures.
We have had many highlights during the year in review, the most inspiring and rewarding by far is listening to the Kookaburra Kids themselves sharing their stories publicly at our events, these brave young people acknowledge the positive impact that Kookaburra Kids has had on their lives. Hearing these stories gives us the inspiration to continue advocating for Kookaburra Kids and ensuring that their voices are heard.
Our Patron John Brogden and Ambassadors Chris Bath, Jim Wilson, Peter Overton, Jessica Rowe and our newest Ambassador, Lady Cosgrove, continue to support and advocate for our organisation by attending events and connecting us to new contacts and initiatives. We were also very pleased to welcome to our Ambassador Program, Lucy Brogden and Parliamentary Patron Hon. Scott Morrison.
Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation is very fortunate to be supported by a strong and knowledgeable board of directors offering expertise in legal, financial and mental health areas. Our board have dedicated many hours to developing a realistic strategic plan, focusing on providing the necessary operational resources to achieve and exceed our strategic goals. I would like to acknowledge and thank the board of directors for their continued support and commitment to our cause.
The achievements of the past year could not have been possible without the support of many corporate, community and individual sponsors and the dedicated and passionate staff who are committed to the success of the program.
Together we continue to make a difference in the lives of the Kookaburra Kids.
Alexandra Zammit: Chair
Pamela Brown: CEO