In the foundation’s annual report tabled at State Parliament recently, Chair Daryl Corpe wrote in his chairperson’s report that the foundation would seek to grow its fundraising capacity after experiencing a difficult 2019-20 financial year.
Measures to be undertaken by the foundation to increase its fundraising capacity include redesigning its website, developing online donation capability, working closely with Wide Bay Health and its clinical teams to establish opportunities for fundraising, and further developing relationships with corporate partners.
Daryl's report addressed the fact that the past financial year had been a difficult one for the foundation.
“The recent economic and health crisis has had an impact on the operations of the foundation,” Daryl wrote.
“As the foundation relies heavily on profits generated from its hospitality and accommodation operations (it) experienced a sharp decline in revenues between the months of February and May of 2020.
“As a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, the foundation was forced to suspend all volunteering services until the restrictions (were) lifted.”
The foundation’s revenue of $1.28m was marginally larger than the previous year’s $1.18m but donations and grants were down from $128,627 in 2018-19 to $123,08 which Daryl attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions.
“The reduced income was unfortunate but understandable,” Daryl wrote.
“The foundation is continuing to increase efficiencies and increasing income to improve this for the year ahead.”
It also manages Rotary Lodge which offers low-cost accommodation for patients, and their carers, who are undergoing treatment at the hospital and provides funds for staff education and nursing scholarships to enhance health services and treatment provided at Bundaberg Hospital.
In his report, Corpe said he was pleased to confirm a surplus of $1578 for the financial year, given it had been a time of economic stress and uncertainty during which the foundation had spent almost $140,000 on new equipment and bursary payments.
“This is a great result for the foundation and is a testament to its staff and supporters,” Daryl wrote.
The 2020 operating surplus figure is down on the 2019 total of almost $16,000 and Daryl reported that staff had worked hard to reduce costs in an environment where income was reduced.
“COVID-19 has impacted the operation of the Thirst Aid Café, reducing turnover for a period but through efficiencies, the foundation has performed well overall,” Daryl wrote.
“Rotary Lodge, however, has had reduced capacity in the fourth quarter.”
The Thirst Aide Café, situated at Bundaberg Hospital, and the portable Thirst Aid Alfresco operation at the Oral Health and Cancer Care Unit at the hospital are commercial businesses that cover the foundation’s administration and operating costs.
A total of 2130 guests stayed at Rotary Lodge from July 1, 2019 to the end of June 2020, which was comparable to the 2222 that stayed the previous year.
Mundubbera residents recorded the highest number of stays with 683, followed by Gayndah (430, Agnes Water (402) and Monto (388).
In his report, Daryl acknowledged that without the support from community donations, fundraising events and funding applications, the foundation’s objectives to support health services could not have been achieved.