2022-23 Community Service Report
Deputy Director: Peter Mentha
Committee: Ian Cameron, Robert Cassie, Roger Cussen, Leon Davey, David Hetherington, Noel Kenna, Mal O’Toole, Glen Riddle.
The Community Service Committee has been pleased to be able to fund numerous worthy causes around Warrnambool and the wider local area, and acknowledges that this is solely as a result of the collective fundraising efforts of all of our Club members. Whilst in the past several “hands on” projects were undertaken, many of these lapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic following changes to health and safety requirements, ongoing restricted access to some facilities for members of the public, and a smaller membership able to undertake as many projects.
The Committee is also grateful that due to the higher than expected fundraising, additional projects were able to be funded, and other programs augmented with extra funds to further assist those in our community most in need.
A summary of the organisations and the amounts funded during the 2022-2023 Rotary year were:
St Vincent de Paul                                                                        $  2,000
Anglicare                                                                                     $  2,000
Salvation Army                                                                             $  2,000
St Joseph’s Soup Kitchen                                                              $  2,000
Warrnambool Community Hospice                                                 $  2,000
Other projects and programs supported throughout the year were:
# Literacy Program (Books for Babies)                                            $  2,962
         A “Centenary of Rotary” program running since 2003
         supplying a book, library bag and bookmark for all
         newborns at South West Healthcare.
# Dr. John Birrell Award                                                               $  2,652
         In partnership with Victoria Police, an award to acknowledge
         the contribution Dr. Birrell made to Road Safety in Victoria
         and worldwide. This year the awardee was Senior Constable
         Melissa Gray of Terang Police, who passed the $2,500 on to
         Terang SES.
# Riding for the Disabled                  $  2,000
         A local organisation which
         gives  continued support to
         people in our community
         with a disability.
# I.C.A.N.                                        $  1,500
         Continuing support for the special needs of 
         Autistic children.
# Let’s Talk                            $  1,000
 A local organisation which addresses mental health issues in our community.
# St John’s Ambulance                                                                 $     500
         Funding for our local branch supporting their first aid
         courses within our community.
# Find Your Voice Collective                                                          $  1,000
         A community group including a large community choir
         which engages with people of all abilities.
# ANZAC Day Wreath                                                                    $       75
         In acknowledgement of those in our community who gave
         their lives for our greater good.
# Christmas Cheer                                                                       $         0
         In partnership with Warrnambool choral groups and aged
         care facilities bringing Christmas cheer and delivering
         sweets during the festive season.
Following the April Club Assembly at which time the Board made it known additional funds were available for consideration, two additional community projects were considered and approved by the Board. It is noted these were considered “one off” projects without any ongoing commitment from the Committee to provide further funding going forward. These two additional projects were considered worthwhile following presentations by guest speakers to the Club throughout the year:
# Leila Rose Foundation                                                                $  2,000
         A local foundation providing family support to families 
         with a child with rare cancers.
#Refugee Assistance                                                                     $  2,000
         Funds to assist with the relocation of a refugee family
         from Iraq.
A Contingency Fund of $5,000 was included in the Community Service budget, and this was fully allocated, with additional funds of $522 added following Board approval to “top up” the amount available for Refugee Assistance. The projects funded from the Contingency in addition to Refugee Assistance were:
# Ladies PROBUS Club of Norfolk Warrnambool                             $     400
         Purchase of a new laptop computer.
# Support for NSW Flood Affected Community                                $     320
         Cost of freighting necessary items to Wardell NSW.
# Melbourne Legacy                                                                      $     250
         Assistance for the launch of “Victorian Veterans Family
         Services” in Warrnambool.
# Warrnambool College Photographic Equipment                            $  2,500
         Funding to assist in purchase of specialist equipment for
         students from the family of former teacher Peter McNeill
         who died from MND. 
         To recognise the Peter’s legacy, his family donated all funds
         from the sale of his photographic equipment to the 
         MND Foundation.
TOTAL EXPENDITURE ..       ..       ..       ..       ..       ..       ..       $29,270
A further “unfunded” project supported throughout the year was PROBUS Clubs with Everard Noske and Maggie Dwyer who liaised and provided support to our local PROBUS clubs.
Three Community Service programs previously supported, Warrnambool Foodshare, Warrnambool Community Garden and “Preserve the Planet” with assistance to Warrnambool Coast Care Land Group, were allocated to the newly formed Environment & Sustainability Committee.
Homeless support funding blankets purchased by the club and disbursed jointly by the Salvation Army, Anglicare and St Vincent de Paul was brought forward to the 2021-22 Rotary year, thus no further expenditure was incurred in the 2022-23 Rotary year.
In particular, I draw attention to the conclusion of our club’s R100 project initiated some 20 years ago to celebrate the Centenary of Rotary International. I would like to acknowledge the generous support of all club members over many years for the Literacy Program (Books for Babies), but in particular, the late Marg Fairbank, Gary & Ann Ryan, Glen Riddle, and Maggie Dwyer who coordinated this program most recently.
PDG Ray Welsford kindly provided historical background information regarding this long standing club project, and I include some salient points as follows:
         # The program began in 2003-04 as a Rotary International Centennial 
                  Project – Club President was Shirley Rhook.
         # Since its inception, the club has funded almost $42,000 to support 
                  and encourage parents to read to their children.
         # Originally each book was accompanied by a leaflet explaining to the 
                  new parents the reason for the gift and the importance of being 
                  read to from the earliest age. This was later replaced by a 
                  laminated bookmark.
         # External financial and in-kind assistance has at various times been 
                  provided by not only by wives and partners, but other
                  community groups including a specific mention of Woolsthorpe 
                  CWA who helped sew the library bags.
         # When initiated, the project costs were significantly less than they 
                  are in current times. One of the key factors in the 
                  significant increase in costs has been the closure of birthing 
                  services at many other regional and local hospitals, thus greatly 
                  increasing the number of births at South West Healthcare being 
                  one of the few remaining hospitals offering birthing services. As 
                  a result, the number of births has increased from an average 
                  100-150 per year to approximately 750 per year. Along with 
                  increasing costs to purchase the books and bookmarks, and 
                  other challenges, the cost to continue to fully fund the program 
                  based on an average of 750 babies per year has risen to at least 
                  $5,000 annually. 
         # The over seven-fold increase in births, along with increasing costs to 
                  purchase the books and bookmarks, would mean that to 
                  continue to fully fund the program to a similar standard as was 
                  initially intended, the club would need to budget at least $5,000 
                  or more annually. After evaluating the ongoing viability of the 
                  program, in consultation with South West Healthcare, the 
                  Committee recommended to the Board that this program be 
In closing, I thank all members of the Committee for their input and support, particularly Deputy Director Peter Mentha who chaired the committee at the April Club Assembly in my absence, and the Board for their endorsement and release of funds for additional projects.
Tim McLeod