December 1 - 7, 2013: Issue 139


 Northern Beaches Interchange's Annual General Meeting of 2013 – An Insight Into A Little Ray of Sunshine

At the 2013 NBI AGM the launch the inaugural "Long Service Awards" recognising those staff and volunteers who have been contributing for over 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years formed part of the proceedings. Above are those who recieved an award this year. A full list is below.

The Northern Beaches Interchange (NBI) Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 28th of November at Mona Vale Golf Club. This is the 31st year of NBI and was viewed as yet another year to keep the organisation relevant to its core values and adaptable to current changes. During the formal part of the evening the Presidents’ and CEO’s reports, from Tracey Keene and Carolyn McKay respectively, were presented. These provided an overview of this year’s Programs and some dynamic future plans which indicate not only the foresight of this community organisation but also its determination to remain a grassroots one by fidelity to its Vision, Purpose and Values.

A unique characteristic of NBI is its focus on personalised support, an ethos that has grown with its grass roots network. A succinct definition of inclusivity, of adapting to maintain their beliefs about opportunities for people with a disability, the NBI range of Programs recognises every member of every family. Service delivery is fundamental – Respite, Recreation, Support- and generates and maintains the excellent Family Fun Days, Siblings Days, the Saturday Program and Host Programs, to do just that, provide Respite, Recreation and Support.

The big development is the incoming NDIS. The National Disability Insurance Scheme is described by Federal Government as ‘a new way of providing community linking and individualised support for people with permanent and significant disability, their families and carers’. The ‘rollout’ across NSW commenced in Newcastle in July of this year. It is anticipated that further implantation will commence from July 2016 and by July 2018 all eligible residents will be covered.

Tracey Keene’s foreword to the 2012-13 Annual Report summarises all NBI key priorities for the next three years. Among the areas of focus to 2016 are: 

1. Preparedness for "self-directed' funding and the NDIS.
Self - directed funding will result in significant changes to the way disability organisations are funded and will increase the level of competition between agencies for the provision of services. Preparedness for the NDIS will require changes to our financial resources and processes, marketing and profile building, administration and staffing. Although it is unclear exactly how the changes will impact NBI, we are preparing for anticipated changes by ensuring we are knowledgeable about the potential impacts and that we have the resources and plans in place to respond quickly and appropriately. We are also using this time to test new concepts and models so that we are have workable plans ready to go as needed.
2. Achieve growth and sustainability
In order to assist us respond to unmet client need, as well as ensure a viable financial future, we are developing and implementing plans to help grow NBI and ensure we are sustainable into the future. We are proud to offer a diversity of programs, however, there is significant scope to expand existing diversify into new activities, hence the organisation needs to cam' of opportunities for expansion
3. Strengthen internal capability
Anticipated growth and sector changes, together with increased expectations of accountability, require NBI to strengthen its internal capabilities. These changes include information and technology, financial systems, sill achieving evidence based practice. While historically service delivery has been the predominant focus, it will be important in the future that internal and processes are highly efficient in supporting program implementation and accountability

Carolyn McKay, CEO of NBI, presented a report that celebrated the past achievements of the year and outlined a positive looking forward to the next year of NBI. There were a few exciting announcements this year:

NBI is proud to be a grass roots organisation committed to fostering supportive connections between people and across the community. We believe in building on strengths, embracing challenge and striving for excellence. We value and respect each individual's unique attributes and contributions and put people at the centre of decision making as we seek to enable people with disabilities to achieve their goals.

We are excited about the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the opportunities it presents for people with disabilities. We have been taking steps to ensure that by building on our strengths NBI will be ready to embrace the brave new world.

We are committed to supporting families to understand and navigate the changing landscape and will continue to strive to provide and develop the services and supports that best meet each family's unique needs. We have already started working to support people with self-directed packages and/or self-funding to meet their needs, and will continue to do this as more packages become self-directed.

2013 saw the launch of our first Action Research project. The project seeks to reflect, build on and improve our practice and improve the outcomes for young people with disabilities and their families. Whilst we often get great feedback we want to really challenge ourselves to look at what works and why and develop an evidence base to inform our future work and to share with others.

Peer Plus was launched as a "pilot" project in August 2012 in response to significant lobbying from young people and their parents and with the support of NBI fundraising initiatives. It aims to build on NBI's successful Peer model: to offer activities for young people aged over 25 and increase choice and control of the participants whilst exploring ways to make the model sustainable.

Peer Plus is just one example of NBI's innovative responses to unmet need in the community. In order to run this project and others such as camps and Seagulls Holiday program, we rely on the generosity and support of our community partners, foundations and individual donations together with our fundraising initiatives.

The NBI team is comprised of a fantastic group of over 140 skilled and committed staff and volunteers and I would like to acknowledge the contribution of each and every one. Each year we recognise a few particularly outstanding contributions with the NBI Awards for excellence with winners announced at the AGM. I am delighted to launch our inaugural "Long Service Awards" recognising those staff and volunteers who have been contributing for over 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years.

Despite uncertainties about many aspects of the journey ahead NBI has an ongoing commitment to be a stronger and more far-reaching organisation which maintains its `grass roots' feel. We will continue to be resourceful, creative and innovative, ensuring that we respond to the specific needs of families and young, people, and to opportunities in our environment.
Carolyn McKay

Claire Cavanaugh presented the Financial Report; a positive there too.

The new Board of Management was elected unopposed and consists of office bearers elected; Tracey Keene – President, Monique Purcell, Vice President, Honorary Treasurer, Clair Cavanaugh, Secretary Mark Woolven, Public Officer Sharon Stone, John Buttle, Monique Langley, Edward Davie, Andrew Miller, George Wong and Russell Kennett.

With the formal part of the proceedings over two guest speakers, Nellie Evans and Venessa Crane gave wonderful talks and insights into their experience of NBI. Venessa began as a client, proceeded to becoming a volunteer and now works in administration one day a week as valued staff member. Her get up and go attitude and determination to ‘get out there and join in’ underlines what NBI is all about – supporting and enabling the families and those with disabilities to be part of our community in ways that suit them.

Venessa Crane

Nellie Evans has had a four year association with NBI so far and likened her family’s experience of life prior to NBI to being ‘placed on a deserted island in amongst everyone else’.. the community they were surrounded by seemingly spinning on regardless, or disregarding.
Nellie stated they needed some assistance to get off the island and the NBI built that bridge for them. The Saturday Program has allowed her daughter to get to do the things other girls her age do, while the Host Family Program is great for her and other family members; respite is afforded while her daughter gets to ‘hang out, go for walks, go to the beach’. Her eldest daughter has participated in the Sibling Day Program and comes home ‘feeling part of something bigger than herself’.

Nellie described NBI as ‘highly family friendly’ and in closing her address stated “Bridges are built from many bricks. The bridge NBI has built for us has provided us with a very soft landing. Thank you for getting us off that island.”

This year a short list on what the team of over 140 staff and volunteers incorporated into their Programs activities encompassed a wide range of places and meeting the optimum in each season.

During Spring the Saturday Program had the Anna Bay Camp; during Winter the Peer Snow Camp 2013, and for the September school holidays five activities, a Disco, Michael Jackson Tribute Concert, Art & About, Cycling & Rumplestiltskin Theatre Show were enjoyed. In the second week of May Peer Support and Saturday program took 2 house boats out in Berowra Waters... We had a fantastic weekend of swimming, soccer, jenga, eating and partying! The Saturday Program ran an animal lovers day during June. The April TAG was a great success and to celebrate it was topped off with a dance party. During March the Saturday programme had a fantastic weekend camp at Jamberoo action park! A great group of teenagers came together and were able to jam pack the weekend with cooking, political debates, swimming, running about as well as the rides!

The team would like to send “A big thank-you to Killalea State Park who were very generous with their accommodation pricing - highly recommended!”

You can probably still hear the giggles and laughter, the chances to talk that has filled this NBI year!

Fundraising remains a vital part of keeping NBI working so well as the organisation is non-profit. This year a team of 80 joined in the annual Pub2Pub Fun run, raising over $15 000.00 and having a great time while they did. 

As stated in Carolyn McKay’s Report this year Long Service Awards formed part of recognising staff and volunteers who have been contributing from five to over twenty years. These are listed in full below and provide, by their length of years of giving, a clearer testament of how vital these people are in maintaining Support, Respite and Recreation for all members of our community.

The Northern Beaches Interchange has modified their logo slightly this year, adding a bright yellow sun or, as Tracey Keene described it in her report ‘the addition of a little ray of sunshine’. The light and warmth this grassroots organisation gives to our community is also an addition of a little ray of sunshine to all our lives and this year has proved to be no exception.



NDIS from:

NBI - About
Northern Beaches Interchange (NBI) is a non-profit organisation providing respite and support to families caring for children or young adults who have a disability. NBI provides services in the Northern Sydney area.
NBI’s purpose is to ensure that people with disabilities and their families are supported and empowered to participate fully in community life.

NBI provides a range of services including respite, recreation and support. In providing these services locally NBI aims to:
• Deliver community based services which are responsive to individual and family needs;
• Enable young people to develop positive social relationships;
• Foster supportive connections between families and across the community which strengthen families in their caring roles;
• Engage the wider community so that it is more aware of, and responsive to, the needs of people with a disability and their families;
• Build meaningful and positive relationships with stakeholders

See more at:

NBI Long Service Awards 2013


20+ years
Andrew Stock

15+ years
Liz Bolitho
Lies Marsden
Lisa Davis (We farewelled Lisa in 2013)

10+ years
Caroline Barton
Venessa Crane
Sue Mesker
Penny Rankin-Smith

5+ years
Wenda Bennie
Carmel Clyburn
Simone Eve
Elizabeth Hammond
Liz Jewell
Carolyn McKay
Lincoln Rankin-Smith
Louise Reynolds
Tony Turner
Olga Vassarotti
Trish Wingfield


15+ years
Kim and Bob Buckingham and family

10+ years
Lata, Mark & Zachary Wilkinson
Alison Fielding Smith

5+ years
Catherine Arena
Judith Blayden
Frances and Sean Foster
Suzie and Jan Gade and family
Natasha Gatien
Tracey Keene
Beth Parry
Jennifer and Ken Sky and family
Annetta and Skip Verdyn and family

Left to right: Harrison, Jan, Anna and Susie Gade with Carolyn McKay - CEO of NBI. 

2013-14 Board Members Elected in attendance on Thursday - (Front): Mark Woolven, Tracey Keene, Monique Langley - (Back):  Edward Davie, Claire Cavanaugh, Judith Blayden, John Buttle.

Left to right: Sue Mesker, David Trundle, Claire Cavanaugh. 

Peter and Lilian Hojgaard-Olsen. 

Left to right: Matt Wyatt, Nikki Cronan, Sophie Collett. 

Catherine Arena and Lies Marsden. 

George Olivares (Returning Officer) and Penny Rankin-Smith - 10+ years at NBI. 

Report and Pictures by A J Guesdon, 2013.