UnitingCare Board Chair Heather Watson assured the members of the 27th Queensland Synod that the board was “competently demonstrating skill and capacity” in her report on day two of the Synod meeting.
“The board is wrestling with its duties, not just as a corporate institution, but as the Church,” she said.
Ms Watson said the UnitingCare board had taken on board a lot of the best practice for businesses and recognised the board’s role in assuring the organisation makes the best stewardship of its assets.
She also acknowledged the work of UnitingCare Chief Executive Officer Anne Cross.
Acknowledging the tireless work of UnitingCare’s 15 000 staff, 8500 volunteers, and 78 chaplains across Queensland Ms Cross said the needs of people continues to drive UnitingCare’s mission to serve.
She said there was currently a major exercise in defining a set of shared values across the agencies of UnitingCare.
The key focuses for UnitingCare agencies are venerable children, young people and families; community care for frail older people; crisis support; residential aged care; and acute health care.
In 2008 Lifeline Community Care has increased its support services by more than 30%. In the last year Lifeline phone counsellors answered 90 000 calls.
Nearly 5000 of the volunteers are engaged by Lifeline, many of those in the phone counselling and thrift shop areas.
In the last year Blue Care increased its hours of support by 205,000 hours (7.2%).
Ms Cross said the major investments for UnitingCare are currently focussed in the Wesley Hospital and St Andrews Hospital.
In relation to the current financial climate and the building work in progress on aged care facilities, Ms Cross said the situation was very concerning but UnitingCare will fulfil its promise to finish their buildings and are critically reviewing their building programs.
However they will not apply for additional beds in the current environment.
Photo : UnitingCare Chief Executive Officer Anne Cross at the 27th Synod. Photo by Osker Lau