Thank you for taking the time to read the 2020/21 St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Annual Report.
The past twelve months have been a test of resilience for us all. In many ways we have been fortunate to be spared from the worst of the pandemic as global citizens, however, the circumstances we currently face are undoubtedly our toughest test during this seminal moment in history.
It will likely take many years to fully recover from the many and varied consequences of the pandemic, yet through it all, the Society will continue to be there with a hand up of support for people experiencing disadvantage and poverty.
This Annual Report is a snapshot of the extraordinary work our people do in communities across the state. Every day our members, volunteers and staff give of themselves to alleviate the hardship faced by others. Whether it is providing material assistance with food and clothing, offering financial aid to address unexpected expenses or taking the time to offer companionship to marginalised groups, our people are living examples of the compassion and generosity of spirit espoused in the Gospel.
Our members are what distinguishes the Society from other organisations helping people in the community. Our members live their faith in action and are present in 370 communities throughout NSW. Over the past year, our members supported more than 35,000 people and provided $7.7 million in assistance. The challenges of COVID-19 limited their ability to conduct home visitations on the same scale as previous years, yet despite this and by innovating, our members were still able to make more than 92,500 home visits to people in need of companionship and support.
Among the Society’s greatest achievements during 2020/21 has been our work in advocating for social change. All our people were instrumental in leading the Build Homes, Build Hope petition calling for greater investment in social housing throughout the state. I felt immense pride in the collective impact we were able to make when the petition was debated in the chambers of NSW Parliament. Ensuring everyone has the safety, security, and stability of a place to call home is a key issue that has only grown in importance due to the impacts of COVID-19.
I thank my fellow State Council members, our Board and leadership team who have led during this challenging time. Through their dedication and tireless efforts, the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has been able to weather the challenges of the pandemic and remained focus on its core mission of building a more just and compassionate society.
On behalf of our members, volunteers, staff, and those we assist – I would also like to extend thanks to the donors and supporters who enable the work we do in communities throughout the state.
Every day the Society is able to make a difference to the lives of people in need – I hope and pray that this Annual Report acts as a testament of our good works.
Denis Walsh – Provisional State President, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW