As the close of 2021 is nearly upon us, we wanted to share some of our highlights from another challenging year of supporting and advocating for Australians.  

The Disability Gateway  

We secured a sole provider partnership with the Commonwealth Department of Social Services to deliver the Disability Gateway national service. Run from The Benevolent Society’s National Support Centre in Sydney, this federally funded service is the central point of information to connect people with disability to support and information. The service includes a national phone line and website . To find out more about accessing Disability Gateway Services please find out more here.  

Launch of Specialist Travel and Telehealth Services (STAT) 

In March, we launched our new STAT service which offers speech pathology, dietetics, occupational therapy and behaviour support through Telehealth and Specialist Travel services.   The STAT service offering was established to ensure service continuity for clients and make our services more accessible and available for all clients particularly those in regional and rural communities, in order to help them reach their goals. 

Brand Relaunch 

We launched a new brand campaign and tagline “Your Life. Your Way.” The integrated communications campaign and creative assets were inspired by internal research that highlighted the value our people place on each client’s story and their goals.  We love our team of practitioners who walk with, listen to, and support people across the country through an integrated service delivery model. The new creative reflected that heart, and our desire to tell their story.  

We also created an employee video to highlight how everyone at The Benevolent Society supports people to live their life, their way. 

Resilient Families Launches in South Australia

For the first time we began delivering the Resilient Families program in South Australia. Funded by the South Australian and Federal Governments using a pay by results model, Resilient Families provides intensive support and evidence-based therapeutic interventions to create positive home environments for up to 300 vulnerable families over the next five and a half years. The Benevolent Society was selected to provide the program after successfully delivering it under a similar model in New South Wales. 

Lin Hatfield Dodds, appointed CEO of The Benevolent Society  

After an extensive and competitive selection process, we were pleased to announce Lin Hatfield Dodds as our new CEO. Previously the Associate Dean at The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), Lin has extensive experience in social policy, systems leadership, and cross sector social innovation, as well as a wealth of operational experience. Her roles have also included Deputy Secretary, Social Policy, in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2016 to 2019, and National Director of UnitingCare Australia. She has also worked as a counselling psychologist with families and young people at risk.  

Hands Off Our Charities 

As a member of the Hands Off Our Charities alliance, we advocated the Commonwealth Government’s proposed changes to ACNC regulations, which would have stifled peaceful democratic protest and see charities shut down for speaking out. After months of campaigning, we were pleased that the Senate voted to disallow these regulations.  

Launch of First Modern Slavery Statement  

The Benevolent Society has adopted a holistic approach to combating modern slavery. We first established our approach and statement in 2019 to better detect and respond early to circumstances where human rights are being abused and decrease the occurrence of substantive human right violations like modern slavery. This year we were pleased to report that we progressed on all the initiatives identified in our first modern slavery statement. Read more here

Ageism Awareness Day  

Australia’s first Ageism Awareness Day held on October 1 was an initiative of the EveryAGE Counts advocacy campaign. Spearheaded by The Benevolent Society, EveryAGE Counts is Australia’s national coalition and grassroots movement to end ageism.  

Coinciding with the UN’s International Day of Older Persons, we marked this milestone day with an online launch event featuring television personality and singer, Monica Trápaga, who was our first Ageism Awareness Day Ambassador. Over 800 people registered to attend the launch. The eminent panel outlined the many faces of ageism and its impacts, and what we can do about it, which you can watch here.  

Across Australia, 160 groups participated in their own morning teas to work with their community to ensure everyone is valued, connected and respected, regardless of age. The EveryAGE Counts team also launched practical resources to help people better understand and identify ageism in everyday life and the steps they can take to respond to it.   

Reconciliation Action Plan 

The Benevolent Society became a proud member of Supply Nation, Australia’s first and leading advocate of Indigenous businesses in the supplier diversity space. This enables us to better engage with and incorporate Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Island owned businesses into our supply chain. 

Supply Nation’s verification process ensures that all business listed on Indigenous Business Direct are not only Indigenous owned but are regularly audited for changes in company structure. 

Our approach to increasing supplier diversity with First Nations suppliers reinforces our commitment to reconciliation through direct action. This year we have: 

  • Reviewed and updated procurement policies and procedures to ensure there are no barriers for procuring goods and services from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses 
  • We have developed and communicated to staff a list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander businesses that can be used to procure goods and services 
  • We will continue to develop commercial relationships with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander owned businesses  

  • We thank everyone we’ve worked with this year. To read more about our work, our 2021 Annual Report is now available. Please find it linked here.