While I was preparing for today I noticed there are centres across WA celebrating significant milestone birthdays at the moment, and I thought that big birthdays are a time to reflect on the past and look to the future.
In reflecting on the past, we want to acknowledge the women who came together to establish the original centre well over 30 years ago. So firstly, I would like to acknowledge:
- All those women who saw the need for a women’s health service in the 1990s;
- All those women who have contributed to making this organisation a reality;
- All those women who have made a difference in between and since;
- And all those women who played a role in shaping the organisation into what it is today.
Back to those first inspirational women who started out meeting in someone’s living room, and through determination and vision, found a building they could expand into and run more programs. We are only able to continue to support and walk alongside our clients on their journey because you paved the way.
We are fortunate enough today to have the very first President and founder of the organisation with us – Jan Thair. Thankyou Jan, I would like to invite you to plant a rose bush with me following the formalities, to celebrate our 30 years.
(Those same women) moved into Council Avenue and then, in 2005, moved to this purpose-built Lifelinks building where we are today, courtesy of the City of Rockingham and Mayor Deb Hamlin. South Coastal Women’s Health, as it was known then, secured the Babbingur Mia program in 2006, which was also at the council avenue site until just two years ago. Since Babbingur Mia has been here, they have brought a new vibrancy and energy to the building – and I learn something from them everyday as we support Aboriginal families and community.
As you are probably aware, this week is Mental Health Week and this year’s theme is “Where we live. How we live. What we’ve lived”. The theme explores how the intersection of the mind, body and environment are essential to our mental health and overall wellbeing.
So it’s very apt that in our 30th year today, we are excited to share some of our innovative practices in mental health and showcase some of the hard work from across the teams. We also want you to have some fun, but before all of that, I have some other thankyous and some rather special awards.
Firstly, thankyou to our hard working Board. A particular thanks goes to Janet, after 16 years with the organisation in various roles, from Secretary to Vice, to Treasurer to Chair. And I’d like to welcome Libby as the new Chair.
I would also like to thank my newly formed leadership team for their continuing support and dedication – I couldn’t do this job without you.
I have a very skilled team here and I don’t really like to single people out, as we work as a team. But I must thank Jodie for taking the lion’s share of the organising for this event today – with special help from Yvette. Catering is courtesy of Trish, our dietitian, and Cindy. Cindy also made the paper flowers. But thankyou to all staff who have all worked so hard to make today happen.
Previously I mentioned that Janet had been supporting the organisation for 16 years. Well, we also have some staff members who have reached milestones of over 10 years – and we would like to recognise your long service: Kathryn T; Kaye K; Mel K; and Valmae W.
To conclude, I would just like to say that we aim to continue to be ahead of the curve, to embrace challenge in such a way that it complements and improves support to all our clients, and to build this vibrant, inclusive and connected organisation, bringing our community together ensuring that our networks stay strong. We plan on being here for at least another 30 years.