MEETING REPORT 29th JULY 2014
Posted by Bruce McBAIN
The meeting under the Chairmanship of Greg Cuthbert opened at 7.40am with 26 members and two guests, joint speakers Cameron Sinclair and Karen Robinson of Road Trauma Support Service Victoria.
Neville Taylor outlined a conceptual framework for Community Service in 2014-15. The Framework has categorized CS activities over 3 categories:
- Community Safety & Cohesiveness includes community village and opportunities flowing from the recent IFTAR dinner and our contracts with the Moslem Community.
- Building Community Infrastructure includes Camp Getaway, McAuley House and a possible indigenous project at Fitzroy Crossing in conjunction with the International committee.
- Supporting Transition and Hardship includes the Royal Talbot Sensory Garden, Christmas hampers, the Melbourne Mens' Shed and the Tree of Joy.
Some projects would by nature straddle categories.
Overall there were 9 active projects plus two being assessed, Patrick Barry was looking at developing an asthma awareness programme for rural medical practitioners and the International committee was evaluating the proposed Fitzroy Crossing programme.
- reminded forgetful members that their membership dues were payable
- noted a recent Austin Hospital publication had highlighted our clubs gardening contribution at Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre
- noted that we had participated in gardening projects at Royal Talbot since 2005.
- Kevin Walklate advised that he expected to defer the date for the working bee at Camp Getaway owing to lack of volunteers for the coming weekend. Kevin also advised that due to his restructuring departure from Australia Post, his current email address would not work but his mobile number would remain the same.
- Over fine wines and culinary delights, 6 members had enjoyed dinner at Roy and Annie Garrett’s and contributed $1200 earmarked for RAWCS to the 2014-15 fundraising programme.
- George Mackey shared his experience of the joint hosting by club members of Ed Pettit and the 6 young aids sufferers who had accompanied him from Botswana, George drew a stark contrast from his recent involvement with candidates to the Science Summer School whose were focused on their future careers which lay ahead and the young visitors from Botswana whose basic focus was survival but who despite this adversity had inspired and delighted their Rotarian Hosts. [Editor: More in a separate item in this Bulletin]
Acting Sergeant Kevin Walklate then conducted a vintage Walklate sergeant’s session, at one stage lurching into a debate with Tony Thomas, amusing all and suitably extracting gold coins from member’s pockets.
Greg Cuthbert introduced Cameron Sinclair the CEO of Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) and Karen Robinson, North West Metro Regional Coordinator.
Cameron, who has qualifications in Science Nursing and Management, indicated he would put RTSSV in context and then Karen Robinson would explain the needs of victims and how they were addressed by RTSSV.
For many years road trauma was accepted as inevitable and in an attempt to change this mindset RTSSV had been established in 1994. In 1999 TAC had begun funding counseling services and in 2004 education services working in conjunction with Magistrate’s Courts began to be provided.
The Association supports 3000 people annually through counselling and education and a number of events such as “Shine a Light” which raise public awareness of road safety and trauma, whilst another event “Time for Remembrance” provides an opportunity for those affected by trauma to meet together for reflection and support. This year it will be held at Parliament House on 16 November 2014.
Although RTSSV has validated expertise, dedicated staff and volunteers and provides a niche product of counselling in a collaborative environment, it must compete in a very competitive philanthropic and government funding environment for funding which results in year by year funning which does match CPI increases and is demonstrated by reliance on antiquated and fragmented IT systems. Opportunities for increased funding sources have been identified in merchandising, education programs and building corporate relationships.
Karen then gave some thought provoking statistics. Since 1987 11,215 people had died in road accidents and 79,658 had been hospitalised. She then went on to share her own experience of losing Ben, her 26 year old son, in a road smash and the ripple effect of each death which follows the trauma not only through the immediate family but friends, workmates, sporting clubs, emergency workers, medico’s and nurses
Karen said that the Road Trauma Seminars which RTSSV run were of 2.5 hours duration, with each session attended by about 12 people who were predominately male and compulsorily sent at the discretion of the Magistrates Court. Attendees were expected to pay $350 but this was often a sentencing factor.
Anecdotally, the programme’s were considered effective but there was a need for empirical research on the recidivism of those attending compared to those not attending a seminar.
Karen concluded her presentation by saying the seminar aimed at expressing reality to attendees by pointedly saying “you don’t want to be a plaque” (in a crematorium memorial park).
Greg then presented the speakers with a gift of soap supporting cottage workers in Timor Leste and the Alola Foundation.
President Roy formally closed the meeting at 8.47am by reminding members of this year’s theme “Shine on Rotary”.