Summer 2018 – Chairs Report

Jim O’Brien CEO of Wheelchair Sports NSW (WS NSW) will be retiring at the end of January 2019 after his 20 years of tremendous and dedicated service.  An extensive recruitment process for the position was undertaken and a candidate has accepted the position.  Michael (Mick) Garnett will commence on January 7th 2019 and overlap with Jim for the rest of January.  More on Mick later.

Fitting farewells for Jim will be announced in the near future.  These are most likely to take place after the busy January period when the Summer Down Under Series, including the racing of the 30th Oz Day 10K, will be conducted.

There has been another change to our Board of Directors.  Board member George Bogdanovic has moved on from icare and accepted a role with a medical indemnity insurer.  George felt given his new role he could not devote the time needed to WS NSW, but has offered to continue to volunteer in different capacities.  George’s place on the Board has been filled by WS NSW Member Nick Taylor.  Nick is a Senior Project Manager at icare.  Nick is also a Paralympic wheelchair basketballer for both South Africa and Australia, as well as a Gold Medallist for Australia at the 2014 World Championships.  Nick is a member of the Wollongong Rollerhawks who are the current national champions.  Welcome to the Board Nick.

Whilst on the Board could I wish speedy recoveries to Board members Di Pass and Caroline Tuyau.  Di recently underwent major surgery whilst Caroline suffered significant injuries in a Motor Vehicle Accident.

Following on from the last Pushers Post I can report that some WS NSW staff and I were part of a Workshop with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) recently.  The idea of the Workshop was to explore possible ways in which WS NSW and CPA could work together and maybe conduct joint programs.  One such joint program is a pilot project on the Central Coast that is being formulated. The issue here is that the CPA model is very much a therapeutic / clinical one with clients paying a fee for service out of their NDIS funding.  AS you know, the WS NSW model is a participatory / subsidized model and we are not reliant on NDIS funding.  It remains to be seen if the 2 models can mesh for the benefit of our members.

Could I congratulate all the staff involved with our Annual Fundraising Luncheon in the city in October.  We had a record attendance of over 300 as well as raising over $130,000 net from the day.  The luncheon has become a very prestigious event and one that our corporate supporters look forward to each year.  Thank you to wheelchair rugby players Ryley Batt and Andrew Edmondson, as well as juniors Ava and Ahmad plus their families.  Their presence and input was much appreciated.

Could I wish all the members a safe and joyful Christmas and the very best for their sporting endeavours in 2019.

Jason Preston

Chair Wheelchair Sports NSW

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