As the year draws to a close, I am proud of what we as an organisation have achieved in 2021.

Annual reports may not be everyone’s favourite reading material of choice and AGMs aren’t often the first choice for a fun night out.

They are, however, an important way to reflect on what we have done and our impact on the community.

When I read our 2020-2021 Social Impact Annual Report, I don’t just see a document full of facts, figures and case studies.

I see a story of how our nearly 500 staff and volunteers have impacted the families and individuals we support.

I see the many ways HBNC, in partnership with other service organisations, has contributed to making the communities of the Wide Bay Burnett more positive and resilient ones.

One of the major highlights of this year has to be opening The Neighbourhood Hive – a unique new “messy” community centre, set in an expansive industrial warehouse.

Thanks to the support of Bradnams and our many local business sponsors, we have transformed this space into something entirely new for the community. It’s a space where innovation and creativity are encouraged and I can’t wait to see it grow over the coming years.

HBNC CEO, Tanya Stevenson.

We have also made significant progress in expanding the Urangan Community Centre, thanks to the support of the Federal Government, Fraser Coast Regional Council and Metcalfe Constructions. The all new Tree House: Urangan Community Wellness Centre is set to open in January 2022.

Getting more specific, our Social Impact Annual Report includes some facts and figures representing how our services are changing local lives.

Through our Community Visitor Scheme, we provided 440 hours of visits to aged care homes in the community. In addition, our Respite program delivered 810 hours of individual support to 25 clients. A total of 8788 trips were provided to clients over 65 through our TransComCare transport service.

Among many achievements and exciting community events, our Community Development team helped deliver the vital Strategic Housing Issues paper, highlighting the housing crisis in our region and offering solutions.

Through to our social enterprise, The Wandering Teapot, we generated more than $100,000 in revenue, with 100% profits going to training young people at risk and supporting our self-funded, life-changing programs like youth mentoring. We also supported three trainees to gain their hospitality certification and move into full time employment.

Community Action for Multicultural Society (CAMS), welcomed more than 800 people to Culture Caf events, introducing and celebrating the many cultures that call Hervey Bay home.

Community Navigators supported 440 clients to find the help and solutions they need, while the Local Learning Network facilitated 60 workshops, delivered by volunteers.

Our Youth Mentoring Program delivered 665 hours of support, while Play With Your Kids delivered 415 hours of play-based activities to our youngest community members.

A total of 8667 hours of support was delivered to families through the Intensive Family Support program, while Bay Families contributed 1238 hours of family support.

Reconnect supported 69 youth clients who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness, Skilling Queenslanders for Work helped 19 people to find jobs while Our Voice supported more than 48 young people into work.

Our legal services, Wide Bay Burnett Community Legal Service, and Seniors Legal and Support Service (SLASS) continued to deliver free legal advice and education throughout the region. Meanwhile, our tenancy advice service, QSTARS, provided 2772 hours of individual advice and information to clients.

The Cashless Debit Card support program helped 431 people with advice and information. Meanwhile, about 10,000 people received general advice and referral through the Hervey Bay Community Centre reception.

I want to conclude by saying again how proud I am, not just of the organisation’s achievements but of every team member who has contributed to them.

I want to offer a particular thanks to our volunteers, who give up their time to help make our community stronger.

From all of us at HBNC – I wish you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. Here’s to achieving even more in 2022!