14th May 2019
On the 13th August, 2017, a group of passionate members of the soon-to-be-discontinued FADS group met to discuss the future of the group once it was no longer operating at the DHB. At that meeting a Committee was elected, comprising six people, a new name for the group was brain-stormed and a plan of action developed which resulted in the establishment of Families Overcoming Addiction.
A new venue was found for our meetings (for which we continue to be most grateful to Pete McBreen, Manager of Education Services) and, although the group meetings continued seamlessly, those early months of our development involved a steep learning curve for this committee, and we were busy behind the scenes establishing our organisational foundations. These tasks included:
- Choosing a name: Families Overcoming Addiction
- Opening a bank account and set up an email address
- Branding – our banner, business cards, welcome packs, stamp
- Promotion of FOA to the wider community (ongoing)
- Training for our committee members – Thanks to Marcia at The Wheelhouse – Strategic planning, NGO Funding, effective Chairperson training, financial structure and management
- Registering as a Charitable Trust – Registration was granted 14th May 2018
- Website development
- Beginning the ongoing process of securing funding….
Many of these tasks were not achieved in one sitting, but required weeks, or sometimes months of learning-curve-affected work. Some remain ongoing.Our first funding was received only one month into our FOA journey, and we are hugely grateful to Health Promotion Agency for their generous start-up grant, without which the establishment of our organisation would have been extremely challenging. In November 2017 we also received a small but welcome donation from TSB Community Trust, so we were well on our way to becoming secure and sustainable.As part of our development we worked on becoming a contributing voice to the MH&A sector in Taranaki. We achieved this, and continue to do so, through involvement in activities such as:
- MH&A GP Expo – NPDC
- DHB Feedback meeting re Substance Abuse Compulsory Assessment & Treatment Act
- Public speaking at community groups – Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Ministry of SocialDevelopment, Lions and Rotary Groups, WITT,
As our first end-of-financial-year approached (31st March 2018) we decided, as a Committee, not to hold our first AGM until we had been in operation for at least a full year – hence this report is covering from August 2017 until 31st March 2019.
Attendance and Referrals
2018 was a year of growth for FOA. The following figures are for attendance and referrals for the calendar year – not the financial year.During 2017 we saw an average of 10 people at per group meeting. During 2018 we had 573 attendances, an average of 12 per meeting.For the first three months of this year, 2019, we had an average 14 people per group meeting.Individual face-to-face and/or telephone consultations are offered as required. During 2018 we provided 85 individual consultations – these included new contacts (60), existing families, and repeat visits with those unable to attend group meetings (25).
60 new referrals received during the 2018 calendar year came from:
- Alcohol & Drug service Media Advertising 35
- Media Advertising 9
- GP 4
- Community Agencies 5
- Other 6
FOA celebrated its first birthday on 20th August 2018 with a cake, flowers and congratulations – a proud moment.
Work on our website development was generously supported by Help Tank, an organisation which assists new and not-for-profit businesses to develop an internet presence, and was driven by one of our dedicated and tech-savvy team members, Lynne Cameron. This took several months of work involving a full-team effort to provide the content for the site- some of which is also available in our Welcome Pack for new families. We proudly launched the website Families Overcoming Addiction.co.nz at our group meeting on Monday 19th November 2018. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are now
monitoring stats from the site monthly in order to identify which features are most helpful to families.
We promote our organisation and have links to our website in on-line listings such as Taranaki Community Groups, NZ Family Services, Personal Help-pages and on relevant websites like Supporting Families Taranaki and Family Drug Support Aotearoa. We have regular adverts in Taranaki Midweek and local radio community support notifications. Our business cards are regularly distributed to medical centres, Alcohol & Drug services, Salvation Army Bridge Program and other stakeholders.
Applications for funding continued throughout 2018 and early 2019 and we were delighted to be successful in obtaining operational funds from Health Promotions Agency (mentioned earlier), COGS and Lotteries with another donation being received from TSB Community Trust – Kirsty will provide details of those in the Treasurer’s Report.
The community at large has been very generous in its support for FOA. We have received numerous financial gifts of varying amounts from generous individuals and also organisations such as Lions, Rotary and Lodge groups. These will be detailed more fully in Kirsty & Chris’s report – but as Chair, I want to stress how important these donations are – not only because they provide valuable resourcing, but because we also receive them as validation and encouragement for the work we do and the service we are providing. Our gratitude is on behalf of all who benefit.
FOA has always been open to welcoming guests to come and observe, to listen and learn about the family journey through addiction and to share any relevant information with us. We have hosted WITT students, Supporting Families Taranaki staff, DHB Family Advisors and a private practice A&D Counsellor, Yvonne Cunningham – who not only came to observe and learn about our group, she stepped in to facilitate the group on occasions when I was on holiday, for which we are all most appreciative. Jimi Ropiha-Stewart, Family Whanau Advisor for the DHB MH&A Service, attends our group every two months in order to hear any concerns family members may have and he reports back to the A&D service in order to inform and enhance service development, thereby ensuring a partnership approach between whanau and the services their person is receiving.
Cutting Edge Conference
Cutting Edge is the NZ annual addictions conference and 2018 included a keynote speaker whose writing is well known to many of our group – Johann Hari, who has written two books which are part of our FOA lending library. The committee, without my involvement, undertook the task of fundraising within the wider group, to enable me to attend Cutting Edge in Rotorua. Meanwhile I was fortunate to secure a scholarship to pay for my registration so the generous donations from our amazing FOA families paid for travel and accommodation for the 3-day event. The conference was a highlight of the year for me – personally and professionally. Many motivational, thought-provoking and eminent people from the New Zealand and international addiction sector provided stimulating and
inspiring presentations which I felt privileged to experience. The conference also provided the fabulous opportunity to meet and speak with Johann and have him sign our copy of his book.
As part of our organisational quality improvement, monitoring and development, we conduct surveys with families who have used our service. The data from this year’s evaluation survey has recently been collated and Elayne produced a graph and comprehensive report which shows the effectiveness of the group experience and also areas where we can improve. If you would like a copy of the collated report, please let me know and I will forward a copy.
Committee – Now a Board
Since the registration of FOA under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, we are now officially your Board members (rather than Committee). I wish to acknowledge the enthusiasm and dedication of the Board, past and present, for the energy, passion and skills they bring, individually and collectively. They enable FOA to operate smoothly which makes my job, as Chair and also as group Facilitator, such a rewarding one. During this first 18 months of operation, we had two founding members step down; I’d like to acknowledge Raewyn Yiannet and Sue Pierce for your past work as founding members of FOA and your continuing support, and to Lynne Cameron (website developer extraordinaire) and Elayne Kessler (always calm and wise) who stepped into those vacated positions in order to keep our Board strong. And to Angela Mason, our highly organised on-the-ball, efficient Secretary, thank you. To Kirsty Porter, for your meticulous book keeping and treasury skills, thank you. To Chris Agnew, for your expertise as Co-Treasurer, your back-up in our Board roles and for hosting our weekly meetings in your workplace – thank you. To Karen Leonard, for your funding expertise and never-give-up attitude, thank you. We have learned a lot together as a team this year and I’m sure we will continue to learn, grow and strengthen as an organisation into the future.
Future – Proofing
After only a few short months of operation, FOA began having discussions with Justin Clinton-Ghodes, Manager of Supporting Families Taranaki, regarding the possibility of becoming a part of SF’s services. These discussions have been on-going and in January 2019 the SF Board voted to pursue funding in order to ‘adopt’ FOA as part of its family of services. At this time SF also made available to us, free of charge, the use of their office space for individual face-to-face meetings, for which we are extremely appreciative.
As we move forward into this second full year of operation, our Board has decided to focus on ‘Business as Usual’ while we await the outcome of funding applications by SF and our plan is, regardless of what happens around our organisational status, to continue to reach out to the community, to face any challenges that may lie ahead and to provide ongoing information and support to families and whanau impacted by a loved-one’s addiction.