Posted by Karin Soster on Jul 06, 2022
Today’s meeting was held in the kitchen and canteen at Marriott Support Services in Keys Road, Cheltenham and was a wonderful opportunity to re-engage with an organisation that had a very close and enduring connection with a former club member, Alan Marriott.   Today was the first club meeting to herald in the new Rotary year and President Margaret’s first meeting as a returning president.  Linda and Faye collaborated to provide a lovely continental breakfast of fresh fruit, croissants, toast and Danish pastries, washed down with orange juice, coffee and tea.  Ian setup the Zoom meeting enabling non visiting club members to join in.  Charles R joined the meeting via Zoom.
   President Announcements – President Margaret
    Alumni – Margaret Lucas will be he keeper of the club Alumni register for recording contact details of all participants who were sponsored by our club to participate in a Rotary program.   participated in a Rotary program and sponsored by our club.
    District 9810 D.G. Visit – D.G. Ken Miller will visit our club on Wednesday 7 September
    BMC Board Meeting – the next board meeting will be held at Holmesglen next week on Wednesday 13 July
Marriott Support Services
    CEO, Ann-Maree Colborne, welcomed our club members, and after outlining some housekeeping, she invited the Chairman, Stephen Creese, to address the meeting.  Stephen welcomed the opportunity to re-establish contact with our club.   He provided a brief outline of Marriott Support Services commencing it is a certified social enterprise with a philosophy of enhancing the lives of people with a disability to live their lives to their full potential.   They support services provided at Marriott House.  The disability sector is facing many challenges. Finance and funding is undergoing massive change  where funding previously provided through the State is now coming through NDIS. The change is dramatic and ongoing making it difficult to budget  with changes being made without notice. They have had to change their business model as a result.  Covid has presented additional challenges resulting in a shut down of their community services. Job keeper was a lifeline, however, they have come through and now able to continue their services and provide work for their clients.  Volunteers are the backbone of their organisation, but finding volunteers is becoming harder.   Their board has 2 vacant positions which they are having difficulty to fill.  Stephen thanked our club for the support we have provided over the years.
    Ann-Maree advises today is their 50th Anniversary, having commenced on 6 July 1972.  She provided a background of their services   - they provide day services for 100 supported employees with a focus on choice and control for their clients supported through NDIS.  Their Enviro management site in Koo Wee Rup commenced 39 years ago providing home maintenance and home care that now includes SE Melbourne, Gippsland and the Western suburbs through contracted work.  Their Industries arm has been provided services for 29 years in a range of employment that includes light assembly, packing, reworking of packaging, pick & pack, bundle wrapping and warehousing.  Training is provided with a focus on occupational health and safety, social inclusion and diversity.  Productivity is high with an error rate of less than 2%.  Their clients are dedicated with very low absenteeism.
    Ann-Maree introduced other attendees from Marriott Support Services -  Linda (Social Services), Eddie (Chief Operations), and Kelly (HR).
    Questions from the floor were answered.  Retirement age is 65, but many return beyond their retirement age as volunteers, and with some clients providing in excess of 40 years’ service.  Volunteers bring a range of skills – some being corporate volunteers, others with specialist business skills.  Marriott Support Services is registered with the Dept of Human Services and is Award compliant.   They are audited by the Federal Government ensuring clients receive their full entitlement.   Their disability services and social enterprises are not widely known, and rely on referrals from NDIS, schools, and other agencies.  Continuity of care for aging clients is a concern.
    To commemorate their 50th Anniversary, they are planning a Gala Ball for March 2023 with a Black and White and Gold theme.  They are seeking a suitable venue for the ball. Our club, among other organisations, will be invited to attend.  Ann-Maree invited people to provide whatever pieces of memorabilia or photos they may have that could be used for display at the ball.
Meeting Close - In finishing the meeting, Pres Margaret thanked CEO Ann-Maree Colborne and Chairman Stephen Creese for inviting the club to their premises, adding Ann-Maree has had previous Rotary connections as an ex Rotaractor .   She thanked Linda and Faye for providing the breakfast provisions and Ian for setting up the Zoom connection.
Club members were invited to remain and join a tour group session to tour and observe their social enterprise works at the premises.