As we move through the start of the new financial year, my team and I have hit the ground running at COTA Victoria (COTA Vic) and Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV). In the blink of an eye, we’re in September already!
We are unfortunately continuing to encounter profound challenges with the defunding of specific, state-wide helpline services to SRV. It’s become apparent, a mere 6 weeks into the new financial year, that the one human being funded to service a state-wide helpline has resulted in a complete inability for SRV to ‘live’ answer calls from people wishing to report incidences of elder abuse.
This has been escalated directly to Minister Lizzie Blandthorn in a face-to-face meeting I and my team had with her a few weeks ago. I will keep you all informed as we progress these urgent discussions with the assistance of the state government.
On a brighter note, securing 4-years of longer-term funding from the state government, along with new and renewed funding from the commonwealth government for specific programs has been a very welcome development.
In a sector that is always last of mind for adequately engaging with, prioritising, and providing clear communication for lapsed program funding, this has provided some semblance of job security for my invaluable and dedicated staff. It has allowed us to focus on the reasons we exist; to continue to be the state’s peak and leading not-for-profit organisation representing the interests and rights of people aged over 50 in Victoria.
As the peak voice for older people in the state, we continue to focus on overt, strategic, public-facing advocacy initiatives relating to positive ageing, ageing well, and fighting elder abuse. We do this with all levels of government, community, and the broader community services sector we work in. This is done in a range of ways, including through submissions, roundtables, briefings, media releases, committees, reference groups, and meetings with ministers. We actively influence the way services are provided, funded, and delivered, and policies and laws framed, this ensures that the needs of older Victorians are effectively met.
There are numerous, exciting, dare I say, visionary, and thought leadership-based major projects and initiatives underway within COTA Vic and SRV currently. Whilst it may be a tad premature to provide an abundance of detail for some of these initiatives that are imminent, I believe it’s appropriate to give you an insight into some of these exciting developments.
Firstly, we are in the process of transitioning the membership management services away from a national COTA Membership model. This marks a significant change and evolution in not only our proposed membership numbers across the state, but more importantly, the complete rewriting of:
- Our entire Membership Services Framework and Model
- Our membership categories, levels, services, and benefits
- What it means to be a member, or supporter of COTA Vic and SRV
- Why it’s never been more important to be a member, or supporter of our wonderful organisations
- Our events calendar, programs, volunteer services, and the proposed introduction of key new events for members such as, networking breakfasts, lunches etc
- Mission statement and value proposition
Watch this space for some incredibly exciting developments in the membership services spaces in the coming months.
Secondly, we have completely rewritten our Volunteer Management Framework and are in the final weeks of implementing an entirely new framework, model, and range of amazing services and engagement opportunities for our valued volunteers.
Lastly, I mentioned in my August message that we were in the process of finalising the development and introduction of a state-wide, fee-for-service model for the provision of Professional Education and training from highly skilled and experienced education staff within Seniors Rights Victoria, focusing on elder abuse. This is another exciting program that is weeks away from being launched.
We have never been a more focussed, values-driven, or strategic organisation than we are today. The future looks very bright — and I’m honoured to have you with us along this amazing journey!
COTA Victoria & Seniors Rights Victoria