2017 was a year full of both challenges and successes for Challenge Community Services.
We look forward to sharing our accomplishments from the past year with you in this online version of our Annual Report.
The Annual Report may also be downloaded for you to read or print through the PDF button on the right.
Please use the tabs below as the menu to quickly and easily reach each section:
The past year was one of milestones and hurdles for Challenge Community Services. Significant changes, from state and federal governments as well as within our organisation, has impacted all aspects of the work we do.
The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), changes to adoption laws, and adjustments to funding models have each presented a unique challenge. Despite these hurdles, Challenge has continued its path of sustained growth. Revenue for 2017 was 16 percent higher than the year before, and this represents an increase of almost 200 percent over the past seven years.
Our number of staff has also grown across our 68 sites throughout New South Wales, with 50 additional people employed over the past 12 months. Challenge proudly employs 83 staff who have a disability, a number we hope to increase in the future. All four service branches have achieved significant milestones in the last 12 months.
- Foster Care have had to adjust to legislative and policy changes in both out-of-home care and the adoption process.
- Disability Services has expanded to meet the influx of new NDIS clients and adapt to changing funding models.
- Therapeutic Services also expanded to meet the needs of the public as well as providing support and behavioural plans for clients of our other services.
- Business Services has continued to provide ongoing paid employment and skills acquisition for our clients, and quality products and services to the community.
It was not luck that enabled us to weather the storm of the past 12 months, it has been the result of careful planning and strategic growth. By remaining true to our core values of accountability, equity, innovation, integrity and client-focus, we have continued to be successful in our mission to assist people to reach their potential through innovative and people-centred services.
The test of an organisation is how it responds to times of change. Our management, board, and staff have proven time and again that they are more than up to the challenge. In 2018, Challenge Community Services will celebrate its 60th anniversary and we look forward to another successful year to mark this significant milestone.
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Creating community connections
After four years in Tamworth, our popular Disability Services Connexions program opened its doors in Newcastle on May 24. The launch was a great success with 55 people enjoying a day of fun and activ...Read more
In last year’s report I said 2017 would be hectic for everyone involved in disability services, a prediction that proved correct.
The transfer of the NDIS from the initial trial to the NSW-wide launch has proven difficult, with the NDIA greatly underestimating the impact the increased numbers would have on the NDIS system. This resulted in massive delays in payment for services already delivered and, at one stage, funding dried up for our group homes in Tamworth for four months. While this put pressure on our cash flow, prior planning of alternative funding streams enabled us to get through it. Other organisations weren’t so lucky, with a number finding they could not continue to operate.
From this, you could be forgiven for thinking the NDIS was a disappointment, but it certainly is not the case. There have been dramatic increases in funding for people with disabilities who had not previously had access. Everyone who satisfies the criteria of an ongoing disability is entitled to services that will assist them to lead a normal life. As our long-term supporters can testify, this was unthinkable 20 years ago.
The NDIS is the largest government undertaking since Medicare. The ‘pain’ suffered will be forgotten in the future, when Australia has the finest system of support for our most vulnerable in the world. We are now providing disability services in a very competitive environment. Competition brings with it reasonable pricing and quality services, which Challenge has recognised as pivotal to the future success of disability organisations.
From small beginnings in Foster Care five years ago, we have grown to be one of the largest providers of out-of-home care for children in NSW. This is testament to the quality of the service our Foster Care staff provide to children and their carers.
Thank you to my fellow board members who have made great sacrifices in their lives to play a meaningful role in the governance and leadership of this wonderful organisation. To Barry and his team, my congratulations for another great result and for the forward thinking that has prepared Challenge for the ‘challenges’ to come.
Caring for the carer
Jay is an 11-year-old boy who lives with his foster carers in rural NSW. He was having difficulty managing his emotions and our Therapeutic Services team accepted a referral from his carers, who wer...Read more
At Challenge Community Services, one thing always remains the same: we are, and have been for years, in a continual mode of change.
While we hoped this year the ‘bugs’ would be removed from the NDIS, problems arose particularly regarding claims for payment of services rendered. At various times over the last 12 months, the NDIA was well over $1m in arrears to Challenge. Thankfully, our alternate funding streams have pulled us through and we are successfully removing barriers to timely payment.
Out-of-home care in NSW is changing as the Government reduces the number of children in foster care, especially young people living in group homes. With an emphasis on guardianship and adoption, our Foster Care team are embarking on a whole new level of service provision. I am optimistic of our success in this challenging area.
Originally providing ongoing services to our Foster Care team, Therapeutic Services has grown substantially to meet the needs of the NDIS, particularly in the provision of behaviour support and plans.
In the end, the success of an organisation comes down to the people that work there. Our front-line support workers, case workers, case managers, supervisors, and regional managers supply the services for which we receive funding. There is also a whole group of back office staff and managers, who ensure all staff are paid, people who owe us money pay and who we owe money to are settled quickly and efficiently, look after our properties and provide the information we need to make decisions. Without these people, Challenge could not exist. Their professionalism and dedication is outstanding and I thank everyone for your efforts.
Challenge is blessed with a stable, creative, and energetic board who contribute significantly to Challenge’s continued success. My thanks for their selfless dedication, hours of voluntary service as well as their ongoing guidance and support.
Challenge continues to receive wonderful support from the various funding bodies both in NSW and on a federal basis. The various local councils in the areas of regional NSW in which we operate along with their communities, assist us to provide these valuable services. I have no doubt their support will continue.
Somewhere, now lost in our history, the person responsible for our naming could not have imagined how accurate our name would be. I remain confident that our team is dedicated to meeting any future challenge.
Chief Executive Officer
Building skills to be proud of
Sebastian is now one of the senior members of Koora Industries, having joined our Business Services team in 2008. As a Timber Assistant, Sebastian participates in many tasks within the workshop such a...Read more
Deputy CEO Report
The last 12 months has brought many exciting developments for Challenge. Many projects, focused on our five strategic objectives, have been initiated and completed including:
- Our Marketing team has developed and implemented a new website and their efforts have resulted in a record number of enquiries.
- To become an Employer of Choice, we have implemented more flexibility for staff and greater company benefits resulting in a reduction of staff turnover.
- We have continued to grow our services across NSW with the opening of several new programs.
- We have created new products designed to facilitate a person-centred approach to ensure customers receive the service they want, when they want.
- Our IT team have implemented new technology across all sites to ensure our staff and customers are connected, including implementing a new finance system that integrates with our client management system.
The Foster Care team continues to provide excellent care for children in both Residential and Foster Care services, with record numbers of children being restored home and an emphasis on facilitating guardianship and adoption. Perhaps the greatest achievement was successfully completing the Office of the Children’s Guardian accreditation process and receiving five years’ accreditation. The next 12 months for Foster Care will be extremely busy. The introduction of the NSW Government’s new out-of-home care framework will see changes across all our processes to ensure we effectively produce greater outcomes in Restoration, Adoption and Guardianship.
The Therapeutic Services team continued to expand, providing much-needed services to our Foster Care, Residential and NDIS clients. We also saw the development of our Medicare services and the opening of Therapeutic Services to the public. The team has doubled their consultations over the past 12 months and have been pivotal in working with other services to ensure client outcomes are achieved.
As we continue to facilitate our strategy over the next year, there is no doubt we will see more services developed with passionate and dedicated staff facilitating them. I look forward to seeing what the next 12 months brings for Challenge.
Providing care for teenagers
For over three years, John and Verity have welcomed foster children into their home for respite, emergency, and short term stays. Children from ages 2 to 18, individuals and siblings, one night, a mon...Read more
2016/2017 saw the total revenue of Challenge Community Services increase over the previous year by $8.8m from $53.7m to $62.5m, an increase of 16.4%. Disability Services revenue represented 40% of the total, out-of-home care revenue represented 56% with other miscellaneous income representing 4% of the total. 2016/2017 further consolidated the organisations ongoing strategy to expand its presence in service sectors that have synergies with traditional disability services and supports.
Staff and employment costs totalled 57% of total expenditure, while direct out-of-home care costs accounted for 24% of that total.
2016/2017 saw the next stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll out across the remainder of our Newcastle/Hunter Valley sites and all North West/New England sites. Western area sites will transition during 2017/2018. Revenue from the NDIS increased from $1.450m in 2015/2016 to $9.316m in 2016/2017. Challenge continues to undertake considerable internal review of services and costs, and has placed itself in a very competitive position in the new NDIS world.
The Net Operating Surplus for 2016/2017 was $3.886m.
Challenge continued to invest in new assets during 2016/2017. Total investment was $822k and included buildings ($232k), computer hardware and software ($371k), and motor vehicles and plant & equipment ($219k).
Chief Financial Officer
Key financial ratios are:
Graphical representations of revenue by service area and type and key expenses by type follow:
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Finding freedom on the farm
Nathan and Emma have provided short term, respite and long term placement for more than ten children on their farm. Currently, the family is hosting an 11-year-old girl on a short-term placement, and ...Read more
Our team is devoted to providing person-centred care to our clients. We provide choices to our clients so they can pursue their goals and socialise with others who have similar interests and life experience. Our emphasis on community participation and skills building provides our clients with tools that will last them a lifetime. We implement our client’s NDIS plan in such a way that they receive the maximum benefits to reach their goals.
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Planning for the future
Disability Services client Laura was one of our first Tamworth clients in the NDIS and her main goals are to get a job and to live independently in her own home. Laura really wants to enter the workfo...Read more
We are dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people. Our mission is to find loving homes for children of all ages and provide extensive support to our foster carers. We guide our carers through their fostering journey, ensuring they have the training and networks they need to fulfill their vital role. Whether providing respite or a forever family: we provide our carers with the tools to help children who need them most.
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Ryan was living in northern New South Wales and then at the beginning of this year he self-placed with his father in Sydney. During this time Challenge had been supporting Ryan and his father to ens...Read more
Our dedicated and passionate team offers a wide range of supports to families and individuals. We offer therapeutic interventions and provide professional counselling to help our clients, their carers, and the community, overcome the challenges life presents us. As part of a wider organisation, we provide a coordinated network to ensure our clients have the tools and support they need to negotiate the world and reach their full potential.
Whether it is speaking to a Psychologist, participating in a group or managing family disputes, with the support of an Accredited Mediator, our service can help you get back on track and improve the day to day wellbeing of you and your family members.
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Supporting the transition to school
Bonnie is an engaging little girl who had a difficult start in life. Knowing her history and the way children with similar histories often present, our Therapeutic Services team expected that she may ...Read more
Our passion is providing quality services to the community and meaningful employment for our clients. We believe that the confidence of a job well done combined with on-the-job skills development will help our clients in their life beyond their current position with Challenge.
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History of hard work
Greg started as a supported employee with Challenge Community Services in 1984, 33 years ago. At that time he worked in the sheltered workshop called Sheltam, where he would roll string for the abat...Read more
Advocating for the homeless
Shane arrived in a small rural town having been placed in a NSW Housing flat, after being homeless for several years. He had not seen his flat before arriving, he just needed to take whatever place he...Read more
|360 Fitness Club||Moree Gallery|
|ACWA CCWT||Moree Library|
|Adamthwaite Crash Repairs||Moxon’s Bakery|
|All Settlers Motor Inn Tamworth||Mung Hing Chinese Restaurant|
|APJ Law||MWNBM CFDU and CSC’s|
|Arcadian Consulting||Narrabri Aquatic Centre|
|Armidale Pizza||Narrabri Library|
|Armidale Market Fresh||National Disability Services|
|Armidale Outdoors||Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation|
|Armidale Trophy Shop||Northwest Health|
|Armidale Sport & Recreation Centre||Pearl Pearch|
|Bakers Delights Armidale||Prue and Olive Café|
|Belgrave Twin Cinema||QBE Insurance Lismore|
|Bidvest Armidale||Quality Services Consulting|
|Bingara RSL||Quirindi Grain & Produce|
|Boo Books||Quirindi Veterinary Clinic|
|Brook Street Pathology||Railway Hotel Armidale|
|Browning’s Motors Quirindi||Riding for Disabled Association Gunnedah|
|Bullimbal School for Specific Purposes||Riding for Disabled Association Narrabri|
|Bunnings Warehouse Tamworth||Riding for Disabled Association Tamworth|
|Carinda House Warialda||Reader’s Companion|
|Chaffey’s Black Belt Academy||Royal Far West|
|Coles Singleton||Rural Fit Tamworth|
|Colleen Wills – CWA Quirindi||Sandy Rawson Psychologist|
|Connecting Carers||Shake Rattle N Bowl|
|Conservatorium of Music Tamworth||Shared Table Community Kitchen Inc|
|Dancing Devils: Line Dancing Tamworth||Singleton Archery Society|
|Danielle Northey||Singleton Library|
|Dominos Armidale||Singleton PCYC|
|Dooner’s Homemakers||SMDV Consulting|
|Drummond Community Preschool||Sport UNE|
|East Cessnock Bowling Club||Stroud Homes|
|Easy As Drive Through Coffee||Subway Moree|
|Emma Small Occupation Services Pty Ltd||Sucheta Velankar|
|Face 2 Face||SWS CFDU and CSC’s|
|Flight Centre Armidale||Target Country Gunnedah|
|Flourish Australia||Tamworth City Library|
|Forty Winks Armidale||Tamworth & Districts Antique Motor Club|
|Forum 6 Cinemas Tamworth||Tamworth Family Referral Service|
|Freckles Café Inverell||Tamworth Golf Club|
|Gowings Toyota Quirindi||Tamworth Hydrotherapy Pool|
|Grant McCarroll Ford||Tamworth Regional Gallery|
|G.S. Kidd School||Tamworth Shopping World Centre|
|Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club||Tenterfield Community Hub|
|Harvey Norman Armidale||Tenterfield High School|
|HealthWise||The Crossing Theatre Narrabri|
|Hillvue Public School||The Meeting Place|
|Homes North||The Place: Charlestown Community Centre|
|Hovell Tree Inn||Tim Vaughan Personal Training|
|Inland Café Tamworth||Unique Minds|
|Interactive Community Care||University of Newcastle –|
|Inverell East Bowling Club||Tamworth Campus|
|IPP Carers||Warialda Rural Fire Service|
|J A Berry Nursery Gunnedah||White Hart Hotel|
|Jaeger’s Dog House Boarding Kennels Gunnedah|
|James Crew from Mercy Services||FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
|Jill De-Ath Consulting||Department of Education|
|June’s Jewellery||National Disability Insurance Agency|
|Men’s Shed Werris Creek|
|Miss Hath’s Nursery Gunnedah||NSW STATE GOVERNMENT|
|McDonalds Armidale||NSW Dep. of Family & Community Services|
|Michael Foster from MS Society||Housing NSW|
|Moonbi House Mini Golf|
|Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre|
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