For a second year in a row, PRONIA hosted its 49th Annual General Meeting (AGM) online on Monday 22 November where the organisation’s annual report for 2020-21 was presented.
Despite the significant issues presented by the coronavirus pandemic and the aged care sector reforms, the organisation has had a great year serving over 8,467 people, achieving strong service results, exponential growth, and maintaining a strong financial position to achieve service continuity and a stable and growing workforce.
PRONIA President Kris Pavlidis spoke about the pivotal role PRONIA has in the community and that during the last year, there was an increase of 55 per cent in the need for casework and counselling services for family violence, mental health and wellbeing as well as financial stress exacerbated by the challenges of COVID-19.
CEO Tina Douvos-Stathopoulos touched on both the achievements and challenges of last financial year adding that the organisation serviced 8467 people who sought culturally responsive welfare services, a substantial increase from last year.
“This year was one filled with many achievements and challenges. It was a year that tested the resilience and determination of the leadership team, staff and volunteers,” she said.
“PRONIA has a proud history of delivering innovative and diverse programs across the spectrum providing continuity of care for clients. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of PRONIA and we look forward to celebrating the achievements of this great organisation.”
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READ PRONIA’S REPORT
PRONIA President’s message
I am pleased to be able to present the 49th PRONIA Annual Report, in my first term as President.
In true form, PRONIA continues to fulfil its Mission to empower, care and advocate for the diverse and changing needs of our Greek Australian community.
We reflect upon the unprecedented turbulence of the past 12 months and appreciate more than ever before, the pivotal role PRONIA has in the community and in caring for vulnerable individuals and families.
This is demonstrated by the unwavering resilience and dedication of the Board and Staff, to rise to the challenges of a global COVID pandemic.
Within this context, PRONIA has executed our obligations with due diligence, integrity, transparency and accountability.
The Human Factor during COVIDWorking closely with key stakeholders, including the State Government, we have enacted PRONIAs emergency COVID Policy and Procedures to mitigate risk to our clients, staff, organisation and broader community. This has kept us in good stead, as we navigate the State’s COVID19 Roadmap.
Underpinning our new reality of COVID safety rules and regulations, restrictions and lockdowns, we have consistently been cognisant of the human factor, so as to prioritise looking after our people.
This has required building on our models of care as we transition from the norm of physical contact to virtual communication through frequent and regular telephone contact; virtual meetings and chats; distribution of emergency aid; and securing critical government grants.
The emerging data across the PRONIA programs is indicative of the 55 per cent increase in the need for casework and counselling services for family violence, mental health & well being and financial stress exacerbated by these challenges.
PRONIA Brand & Strategy
We can be proud of our person centred work that is approached and delivered with compassion, courage and conviction, for the wellbeing of our Greek Australian and broader community.
Testament to the quality of this work is PRONIA’s compliance excellence as evidenced through Departmental accreditations, as well as survey feedback of members, clients and staff.
At a systemic level, PRONIA’s respected brand and professional expertise, firmly positions our broader role in the Multicultural and service sector. This is demonstrated by our strong collaborative relationship with, and advocacy to government, peak, state and federal bodies, to respond and deliver on behalf of our established and more recently arrived Greek Australians.
Examples of PRONIAs advocacy work in the last 12 months include:
•instrumental in the initiation of the multicultural CEO advocacy Network, securing funding for CALD communities
•influencing policy to guide equitable resource allocation to CALD community
•advocate for cultural competency and improved integrated service models
•successful lobby for the inclusion of the Greek language in the Dementia Moving Pictures project;
•hosting the launch of Shadow Labor’s Multicultural Engagement Strategy at PRONIA Headquarters
Guided by our Strategic Plan, we remain driven and focused on the PRONIA vision as a leading go to community welfare service organisation.
The Board and executive worked with determination and inspiration throughout the year.
It was rewarding to lead the robust review of PRONIA’s strategic priorities with the Board and CEO, and to build on our good governance and organisational culture, for the delivery and forward implementation of our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.
A key focus of this next stage will be COVID recovery, in collaboration with our sectoral networks & partnerships to maximise service resourcing and outreach; and also to consolidate our research into the changing intra generational dynamic and cross cultural impact on our community.
This work will be further supported by PRONIAs Business and funding model, to identify and secure innovative funding sources and revenue streams.
We continue to broaden our capability and respond with vigor to the evolving and growing needs of our community, to remain relevant to future generations and meaningful, for our children and grandchildren.
This is reflected through our expanded and modified service models for our youth, elderly and families and our strong and robust financial monitoring. The expansion of our capital investment in our Oakleigh sites, the restructure of the Alpha Childcare entity and growth in Human Resources, are critical developments towards PRONIA’s future proofing and succession planning.
We remain proud of PRONIA’s enduring legacy and continue with strong leadership, innovation and growth in a climate that embraces change, whilst continuing to deliver best practice standard of service and care.
READ MORE: Celebrating the volunteers of PRONIA
PRONIAs role as a foundation pillar for our community, is galvanised only because of the support and encouragement of our community and members, sponsors, funding bodies and partners. I would like to acknowledge the State and Commonwealth Government, Delphi Bank, Federation of Greek Elderly Citizens Clubs, HACCI, F1IT, Ithacan Philanthropic Society, Neos Kosmos, SBS, 3XYGreek Media, and Windsor Management Insurance Brokers, for their kind & generous donations and ongoing support.
Importantly, our sincere appreciation to PRONIA’s patron the Hon Emilios Kyrou for his continued support.
Finally I would like to acknowledge our dedicated CEO Tina Douvos-Stathopoulos and the management team, staff and volunteers for their remarkable tenacity to seamlessly deliver “normal” within an extraordinarily abnormal environment. Importantly, the dedicated and generous expertise and cooperation of my fellow Board Directors, current and former, is greatly appreciated.
It is indeed a privilege and honour to lead this remarkable organisation.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am proud to commend this Report on its accomplishments, as we move forward with optimism and inspiration.
I take great pride in presenting the CEO report for the 2020-2021 financial year. This year was one filled with many achievements and challenges. It was a year that tested the resilience and determination of the leadership team, staff and volunteers.
Despite navigating through a number of significant issues such as COVID-19 and aged care sector reforms, PRONIA met its service obligations and strategic objectives. The care and wellbeing of our clients is central to the work of the organisation. This work was made possible by the unwavering commitment of our dedicated staff and volunteers. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire team for persevering throughout the year to respond to increased service demands and changing community expectations.
It is anticipated COVID-19 related issues will be managed well into the future necessitating an ongoing adaptation of service responses to support the changing needs of our service users. PRONIA implemented specific COVID-19 related services to support vulnerable members of the community. Essential services such as centre-based child care and community aged care remained client facing meeting the care needs of the elderly in their homes. All other services adopted a hybrid model of service delivery, such as tele-practice and online support, in response to extended lockdown restrictions.
Despite the interruptions PRONIA’s achievements this past year far exceeded last years’ client service outcomes. The substantial increase was in response to demand for services validating the importance and need for quality cultural specific care.
PRONIA serviced 8467 people who sought culturally responsive welfare services, with key achievements highlighted by the following program outcomes:
- Aged and Coordinated Care delivered 179,468 hours of service to 700 elderly members of the community, an increase of almost 3000 hours.
- Home Care packages program serviced 572 packages across metropolitan Melbourne supporting elderly to maintain their independence at home.
- Direct casework assisted 5011 clients providing a total of 3,354 hours of individual support to at risk or vulnerable members of the community. This number includes the 2374 clients serviced from the Red Cross collaboration.
- The Multicultural COVID-19 Family Violence Program online activities reached 1000 people who participated in family violence awareness activities.
- The Family and Relationship Service delivered 438 counselling sessions to individuals and families in need.
- Settlement Services provided support to 455 newly settled migrants.
- Volunteer services in residential facilities were maintained with 70 volunteers sustaining social connections with 131 isolated elderly.
Notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early childhood education sector which endured centre closures, funding and service delivery disruptions, Alpha Early Learning Centre remained operational supporting the care needs of essential workers and local families. The All Best Care (ABC) Workers Agency, although impacted by centre closures, recovered well due to strong service relationships with early learning providers.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Final Report released in February 2021 signalled major reforms in aged care. The organisation worked towards the implementation of the new payment arrangements, managed the changes within the HCP’s program and addressed aged care workforce matters, including vaccination mandates and reporting, to ensure continuity of care.
PRONIA is working towards the alignment of the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Management (MARAM) Framework into our family violence services as a response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. To this end, a whole of agency approach will be adopted to further strengthen integrated service responses to family violence and elder abuse within the organisation.
Advocacy remains a key function of the organisation with contributions to policy made through submissions, membership on peak bodies such as Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), and participation at state and national advisory groups and committees including VMC Regional Advisory Council and FECCA Positive CALD Ageing Network.
The expansion of services is aligned with the strategic priorities of the organisation. In May, PRONIA achieved approved provider status under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) receiving full registration to deliver support coordination services to people with disabilities, and has since on-boarded 6 clients to the service. The recent purchase of the new Oakleigh premises provides further growth in the southern corridor, with construction expected to commence early next year.
The 2021-2026 PRONIA Strategic Plan outlines PRONIA’s strategic intentions for the next five years. The three strategic objectives outlined in the plan are as follows:
• Priority 1: Build on existing services and harness new and sustainable opportunities
• Priority 2: Enhance organisational capability for quality person-centred services
• Priority 3: Continue to contribute to Australian multicultural social policy, supporting and leading research to inform our work.
PRONIA has a proud history of delivering innovative and diverse programs across the spectrum providing continuity of care for clients. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of PRONIA and we look forward to celebrating the achievements of this great organisation.
I extend my thanks to the State and Commonwealth Government for their continued funding and support, and acknowledge the City of Monash and City of Moreland for supporting the work of the organisation. To our partners, sponsors and the Greek media we value your support and look forward to continuing our working relationship.
In conclusion, my sincere gratitude to the senior executive team for their commitment to achieving the exceptional outcomes during what were some very challenging times, namely: Nikki Efremidis Deputy Director Manager Aged and Coordinated Care, Mary Sophou Manager Family and Community Services, John Lioupas Manager Business Finance and Kelly Ioannou Manager Children’s Services. I especially acknowledge John’s contributions to and management of the Human Resources team and welcome Tanya Curtin, Manager People and Culture, to the senior management team.
A special thanks to Nick Katris and Kris Pavlidis for their support of me in my role as CEO and extend my thanks to Board Directors for their governance and strategic guidance. I am both excited and honoured to work with the PRONIA Board to continue leading PRONIA into the future.
I have immense passion for an organisation that continues to make a profound difference to the lives of thousands of people each year and express my pride of all the staff and volunteers for their contributions that make this organisation a great one.