Our AGM and Annual Celebration

Over 60 people came along to our Annual General Meeting and Celebration evening on 17th October – and we are all still buzzing from the night!

It was a wonderful evening of gratitude and appreciation for all our volunteer doulas and all that we have collectively achieved in the last year. We could not have done this without the ongoing support of our partners and supporters – so thank you for all you do! You can read more about our achievements in our Annual Report.

Guests laughing and clapping

We also had our sights firmly on the future and everything that we plan to do to ensure equitable maternal and child health outcomes for all women and their families, regardless of their circumstances.

For those who missed it, you can get a feel for the night below in the Report our Chair, Kirstan Flannery.

A volunteer is presented a certificate and flowers

Chairperson’s Report, 2018

By Kirstan Flannery

From an inspired idea and possibility, we’ve come a long way in five short years. So I am delighted to begin by highlighting some of our achievements for financial year 2018, all of which relate directly to the goals of our strategic plan.

Increased program capacity saw staffing expansion with our volunteer supervisors, we supported our 200th doula support client and welcomed our 50th volunteer doula. Our first bi-cultural doula specific volunteer induction was held diversifying our volunteers.

The goal of influencing the maternal health system was further realised when we were invited to present at the Inquiry into Perinatal Services and were called on by Sky News, SBS and other media outlets regarding our work and to speak to related issues.

To strengthen our organisation, tireless fundraising work has seen us secure new supporters including The Victoria Women’s Trust, Bendigo Bank and The Funding Network.  Operationally, we rolled out our online system for referrals, client facing and volunteer work for a more seamless process and better data records for future research.

Into the future we will be continuing our strategic focus on the three key areas of supporting women, strengthening our organisation and influencing the maternal health system. The next year will see a deepened focus on sustainability, the introduction of some new services thanks to the research and evaluation we’ve been undertaking into our services and community needs and plans are underway for expanding our services into new regions in Victoria, to name a few.

I’d like to publicly welcome our CEO, Ruth Dearnley who’s joined the team and is already making impressive headway in her role, our work and direction as an organisation, even diving in and speaking of our work beautifully on Sky News only two days into the role.

A huge thanks to Carly Lord for her years as a director, who is now pursuing career changes but who none the less remains a part of the family here and will still be around.

I would like to pay tribute to my fellow directors for the important roles they play and who have volunteered their time and expertise to govern and strategically guide in a selfless way this past year. It’s been an inspiration to work alongside each of you.

As a board we strive to ensure our processes and governance are inclusive, transparent and responsive, and ALWAYS centred on the needs of the women and families we exist to serve.

Finally, but by no means least what a remarkable team of staff, volunteers, and supporters! Each person’s involvement is so vital and valued to furthering this work and ensuring positive changes in our maternal health system for all women and their families.

In forging new ground to address the gaps in our maternity system we have achieved much! The strength, resourcefulness and commitment of all involved is nothing short of spectacular. Our ripple effects are widening as we continue to grow together in our impact within birth, motherhood and maternity care.

Two adults hold and laugh with baby