As a not for profit organisation, the contribution of our volunteer Board of Management and staff are key to our success. We wish to recognise and thank those who have been a part of the AYSA team during the past year, including previous staff members, artists and volunteers. The people contributing to AYSA provide a valuable link to community for many young people. In our work individuals and the relationships and compassion they bring creates transformative opportunities for change.
AYSA Chairperson’s Report
After the seemingly never-ending COVD-19 related challenges AYSA, and all of us negotiated in 2019-20, it has been somewhat of a relief to be able to look back on the last year for AYSA as something much closer to ‘business as usual’ in working with at risk young people in Albany and the Great Southern. By no means has the year been an easy one; 2020-21 has certainly still provided a number of challenges that the organisation has navigated through,
but there have also been great achievements to celebrate as well.
The biggest of these challenges was the resignation of our CEO, Ricky Burges who completed her twoyear term as CEO in late 2020. Ricky came to AYSA at a time when the organisation was very-much in need of a steadying influence. Ricky’s enthusiastic approach to her work, and her considerable experience was warmly welcomed by all those who worked with her, in particular AYSA staff and Board. The positive impact Ricky has had on AYSA and its
culture during her time as CEO will continue to be felt into the future. While it is always difficult to lose a CEO of the calibre of Ricky, the Board were thrilled to be able to appoint Ian Clarke as the new CEO. Ian’s passion for working proactively with young people was evident in his previous roles as with WA Police and as an AYSA Board member, and the Board looks forward to AYSA continuing to grow under Ian’s stewardship. The recent establishment of AYSA’s Outreach services into the Broomehill- Tambellup Shire are just one example of this, creating new opportunities for AYSA, and for young people into the upper Great Southern.
The AYSA Outreach team this year moved into their wonderful new premises at the newly renovated Albany Youth Centre on Sanford Rd after a prolonged period of homelessness compounded by COVID, which has allowed the team to resume AYSA’s much-loved Art and Music programs, and consider new ways of working with at-risk young people in the Albany area. Importantly, the Youth Centre will also offer a youth drop-in facility, filling an important gap in youth services in our region. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Outreach staff team under Manager Chrystie Flint for their patience while the Sanford Rd works were completed, and for their enthusiasm for working with young people from their new place.
AYSA has worked to support it’s staff team through a number of other infrastructure projects including a complete overhaul of an antiquated IT system, and at the time of writing the ink is drying on a revised Policies and Procedures to guide staff and the Board going forward. A big thank you to Finance Manager Leon Delpech and his team for guiding these projects. The Board has kept a close eye on the ongoing risks associated with COVID, particularly from the perspective of AYSA Residential Services, which remains one of our most important, and most vulnerable service arms with respect to a potential COVID outbreak. The pandemic, along with a lack of affordable and social housing in our region has seen continued high demand for AYSA
AYSA is working to identify new opportunities for providing safety and shelter for young people experiencing homelessness, and to bolster pathways and services back into independent
living for these young people. A big thank you to the Residential Services staff under Manager Kiri Floyd for their ongoing work in difficult times. And finally I would like to thank the AYSA Board of Management; Deputy Chair Simon London, Treasurer Levi Wheatcroft, Secretary Julie de Jong, Steve Cowley, incoming new members Ricky Burges and Dale Forster, and outgoing members Ken McKinnon, Sharmin Hardy and Ian Clarke who worked to support AYSA throughout the year.