Hello I’m Jen Blyth, CE of Deaf Australia. I thought I would do one last update for 2021, maybe you think I look slightly relieved and yes I am, it’s been such a busy time since August, lots of things have been happening since I started.
The team has expanded, we started with four or five staff and there are now 11 staff members in the team. It’s a really amazing team of people, I feel just honoured really every day seeing the amazing skills and knowledge and contribution to the organisation and the Deaf community the staff are making, and I feel extremely proud to be part of this amazing team of people I get to work with every day.
We have achieved many different things throughout the year:
- We’ve set up the TTT thanks to some staff who have previously worked with us and some that are still working with us, this ensures we are updating the community regularly with information.
- We have also held many, many webinars which have been really popular and quite a success, people seem to love them. They are also up on the website so if you think you have missed one or perhaps want to watch it again-you’ve got your own free Netflix right there on the Deaf Australia website for you to watch.
- We have met with countless different organisations and meetings, not just me but the team as well
- We have also been really busy preparing and looking ahead to 2022, what can be achieved and also seeking more funding to ensure we succeed into the future and carry on the legacy of Deaf Australia in the years gone by and all the different CE’s, managers, board members that have been involved in the past and we want to continue that into the future.
I do have some exciting news to share. We recently pitched to SBS after they did a call out for people who are interested in creating podcasts (you know that hearing thing where people talk and tell stories). We suggested an Auslan podcast and they agreed so we will have an SBS Vodcast (video Podcasts) for deaf people to talk about Deaf related content, it will be available to watch on SBS and we will share on our platform also. Hearing people can also watch and find out more about what it’s like to be part of the Deaf community. I’m extremely excited about that particular project.
I want to say thank you to all those people who contacted me about their NDIS plans for their deaf children. I received lots of submissions and I do encourage you to please contact me and submit your story if you haven’t already. It’s a really important topic and the NDIA are aware that I am collating this information, but I want to collect as much information as possible. Please do send me your stories, if you would like to contact me and let me know about your family situation, I do need certain things: your child’s participant number, where you’re located, a brief summary about your story and details regarding if you’ve been to a review, if you have made a complaint or if you have been to AAT, what processes you’ve been through with the NDIS. That will really help with me with my advocacy with the NDIA.
In the previous update I spoke about our focus on education sector for the Deaf community. I only received one or two submissions. I would love to get more submissions to help us build understanding for our advocacy work in this area.
I also want to let you know that in February we will have an SGM, at the recent AGM this was announced and this will be held in February, date to be announced in January. The board will be there in person and at that time will talk about a few different things: we will talk about our membership system, what the structure of the membership should be, the awards, and the Colin Allen AM Lecture with this TTT there is a survey so please see fill this in.
In the last CE update we introduced our new DRC advocacy officer, this TTT includes introductions from three new staff members so we have grown but that’s it for now.
I also wanted to add we recently had a Q&A with the CE and there was some brilliant questions - that was quite successful so we have decided we will hold another one on 13th January. We will promote it a bit more closer to the date but perhaps with this Q&A with the CE there’ll be less questions because of holidays or maybe there’ll be loads because you’re bored over the holidays and thinking all about what Deaf Australia could achieve and discussing this with your family and friends over the Christmas period, I’m sure you’ll be doing that, right?
Thank you for your support over this year, the team really feel quite supported from the Deaf community and I feel very supported. I also have had some criticism but I really do welcome that because I really appreciate that it helps us to improve and make things better. Any feedback or advice or information that you give us we take on board, and we really believe in transparency and accountability to the community. We believe in making sure we are achieving what you want and need from Deaf Australia as your peak advocacy body.
We look forward to 2022 I think it will be an amazing year with all the things we have planned for you and I hope you will join us on our journey. Thank you, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you all. Please stay safe.