Families Overcoming Addiction
Chairperson’s Annual Report
2022 – 2023
I am pleased to present this annual report for the 2022 – 2023 year.
Reflections from the past 12 Months:
This has been another solid year for Families Overcoming Addiction. We have enjoyed a year which included the celebration of our 5th anniversary in August of 2022.
We offered a lucky family a winter retreat in a traditional kiwi bach at Tongaporutu – which was won by one of our regular group attendees and have recently held another lucky draw – this time for a weekend of yoga, meditation and fabulous food at Sivananda Yoga. Some other families were gifted ‘Winter Warmer’ packs – boxes filled with wonderful winter treats and gifts which were donated from our local Red Cross. We are very grateful for the generous donations from our membership and others which has enabled us to provide these self-care treats to some of our deserving families.
We took part in the regional activities for MH&Addiction Awareness week, including our presence at Hawera, Stratford and New Plymouth’s public expo. And as our own commemoration we held a “Lights of Hope” candle ceremony at a group session, where members were invited to send out prayers and healing wishes for their people struggling or recovering from addiction while lighting candles in their honour.
This year, in place of our annual feedback survey, we sought written testimonials from people who have accessed our service which have been uploaded to our website to encourage others to reach out. The testimonials were a heart-warming reminder of how families value the support they receive.
This year’s training opportunities included:
Peer Supervision Training – completed by Sue, who can now provide Supervision for others in the Peer workforce.
Empowering Positive Change – a 3-day training provided by Kiwi Family Trust and attended by six Families Overcoming Addiction members.
Low-Down on Burnout webinar – attended by Sue as part of her professional well being.
Peer Support 101 – Our FOA Board has decided to support one of our members (who has her own recovery journey) to participate in this training – next intake August 2023.
Families Overcoming Addiction set up a Facebook group in August 2022. From a start-up membership of just seven people, we now have 380+ members from New Zealand and around the world. The group is an open forum (to enable anyone to access the page) and we have daily sharing of hope and inspiration for families who have someone living in addiction. A huge thank you to our technical whizz, Michael, who not only inspired and encouraged the development of our online group, but also provides the expertise and tech support to keep us up and running. Thanks Michael.
Other developments for this year included the beginning of our policy and procedure reviews. A schedule was developed and we undertook our first batch of reviews in February, which also included our Strategic Plan review, and more will follow later in the year. This set us in good stead for our compliance audit, about which we were advised last October.
New Supervision contracts were developed for our three facilitators and this year, a new Supervisor has been engaged for Sue – which is working out very well, as is the continued Supervision contract for Angela and Kirsty.
New business cards were printed this year – enabling separate cards for Stratford and New Plymouth services.
An informal connection group was established for addiction practitioners working in isolation – FOA participates in these monthly meetings.
Our Stratford group remains small, and it is proving quite challenging to engage people. We undertook a large leaflet drop (via Rural Post) delivering 600 information brochures to the rural community but this has not proven successful in increasing group numbers for Stratford. We have also used the local newspaper, community notice boards and contact with community organisations and will continue to do so, as we were informed by Stratford health and social services that there is a need. Huge thanks to Kirsty and Angela who are dedicated to travelling to Stratford and continue to offer support to this small group of very appreciative families.
Families Overcoming Addiction has a lending library and we have added several new titles to the collection throughout the year. The books are popular with both new and existing members.
At the writing of this report (officially the 23/24 year) we have just received notification that our very first audit has returned a result of “Fully Attained”. This is a fabulous outcome and just reward for our team effort as we achieved full compliance with all standards set, especially in relation to our documentation, policies and our FOA website. A proud achievement.
Our website continues to be a first-point-of-contact for anyone looking for support and is maintained and kept up-to-date by our Board member, Michael. Many of our referrals come from the website and, as mentioned above, it received commendation and admiration from the auditors.
This year FOA provided team presentations to:
Bravehearts (online zoom), Salvation Army Bridge, Hawera Budget Advisory and Taranaki Plunket.
We have collaborative relationships with:
Taranaki Workbridge, Workwise, Volunteering New Plymouth, Taranaki Rural Support Trust, Tui Ora AOD Practitioners, Tui Ora Peer Support, NZ Police Awhi Program, MH&A Awareness collaborative, NZ Drug Foundation, Te Pou and Te Whatu Ora surveys and webinars, Te Whatu Ora Taranaki Staying Connected bi-monthly zoom, New Plymouth Women’s Centre & Education Services (who generously allow us to use their rooms) and Kainga Ora’s New Plymouth Housing project.
Our five-year Strategic Plan was reviewed again this year and we confirmed that we are on track to achieve our planned outcomes by 2025. This following year we will be focussing on formalising relationships with some of our local Kaupapa Maori organisations (e.g. Tui Ora and 4-Waitara) which will ensure we achieve our objective of strengthening and increasing access for Maori.
Ongoing thanks to our dedicated and passionate Board, who truly are the backbone of FOA and I am delighted and relieved they have all agreed to continue this year. Apart from the decision-making and problem-solving skills displayed by each of our Board members, specific roles are expertly performed:
Angela Mason – Secretary – meticulously maintains our monthly minutes, and keeps us on track.
Chris Agnew – Treasurer – who’s financial management skills are essential and impeccable.
Kirsty Porter – Co-Treasurer – who keeps all our bills paid with efficient accuracy.
Raewyn Yiannett – Resource manager – who always puts her hand up to do those behind-the-scenes organisational tasks – of which there are many.
Karen Leonard – Funding Application Manager – who’s funding wizardry has not been required this year and is now launching into a new FOA role as Co-Chair. Thank you, Karen, – your assistance as Co-Chair will not only lighten the load, it will also provide transparency for our FOA governance.
Michael Yiannett – Technical expert – who keeps our website and our Facebook page running smoothly while also adding a much-needed lived experience voice to our Board. Thank you all.
For the period 1st April 2022 through 31st March 2023, FOA saw the following people:
Group Attendance – 598 @ 60 group sessions
One-to-One Sessions – 279 – 147 phone and 132 face-to-face
New Referrals – 42 These have come from FOA Website & Facebook (Self referrals), Yellow Brick Road, Waimanako, Tui Ora, Bridge, Manu (4 Waitara), Greg Davis, and AoD Te Whatu Ora Taranaki.
These figures include both New Plymouth and Stratford and represent a slight increase on last year’s figures.
As we end one year and begin another, I am confident that we are in a strong and forward-thinking position at Families Overcoming Addiction. We have recently discussed the possibility of funding our own Peer Support Workers – a major transformational step to fill an all-to-obvious gap for our people. In this constantly changing world of health reforms and organisational flux, FOA remains solid, steady and optimistic about our future. We will continue to rise to any challenges while strengthening and delivering our services, in the spirit of Tika, Pono, Aroha (Integrity, Respect and Loving Compassion).
We wish our stakeholders and especially our FOA families a peaceful and positive 2023-24 year. Thank you, Sue Philipson.