May 2021

It has been some time since my last newsletter. I met some of you at the last Annual General Meeting, and I have been trying to get around Bowen to meet as many clients and their family members as possible. If I haven’t met you as yet, I look forward to doing so into the future.

I have now completed my 7th month with BFC – time continues to fly!!

If you have any questions about this newsletter, or something else you wish to discuss, feel free to get in touch with me. Best email is which is a confidential email address. If you would like to arrange a face-to-face meeting with me, please phone 4786 4755 and ask for Tricia Jorgensen – Tricia works with me and will also keep your information confidential.

So to news….

  1. As I said, I am trying to get out and about as much as possible to meet clients and their families. I wish to hear YOUR views on what BFC does well, what BFC can do better, and what BFC is not doing, but you would like us to.Some client feedback to date is that many of you would like a “permanent” group of workers who provide you with supports. We have heard this message, and slowly (but surely) are working towards this service model.As a regional service provider, BFC has to try to balance many factors to provide quality services –
      1. Meeting your needs, not only for what you need immediately, but also for what you may need into the future, as circumstances may change.
      2. Meeting our staffs’ needs. BFC employs its staff on a permanent basis – many other disability providers only employ staff on a casual basis, and so can end any staff member’s employment with little notice.

    BFC is committed to the Whitsunday region and wants to be an employer-of-choice, where staff feel they can stay in their home town with job security and career opportunities. However, permanent employment means we must provide a variety of paid leave and other benefits to staff.This brings with it its own challenges, including:

      1. Ensuring all staff are rostered leave when requested,
      2. There are sufficient number of staff, sufficiently skilled, to meet the needs of each and every client. Many of BFC clients have complex, special needs, which require our staff to have additional training to ensure services are delivered to meet each client’s indivudalised supports. This takes both time and other resources to train those staff. This means we have to carefully balance our rosters to ensure all clients needs are met.
      3. Ensuring new staff are provided with adequate training and “buddy” shifts so that as staff take leave, there are adequately trained staff to backfill them.
      4. Ensuring BFC’s systems and processes are as effective as possible, to ensure the organisation can continue to operate for at least another 30 years.

    The not-for-profit sector is very competitive and BFC must be ready to meet the various business challenges it will face in the future. If it does not, it may cease to exist. This would disadvantage clients, staff and Whitsunday communities, so it is imperative that BFC does everything is can to ensure that it is a strong business that provides quality services.

    I appreciate that not all clients have been supported by their “favourite” support workers for each shift. I ask for your patience regarding that – as we build and properly train our support worker team, and we make BFC stronger as an organisation, we hope to eventually have permanent teams of support workers for each client, with each support worker in YOUR team being someone you feel comfortable with and enjoy being supported by.

    We recently sent out a form asking for you to provide BFC with the names of support workers who you like being supported by, and who you would prefer not be have support from.If you have not provided us with that information, I encourage you to do so, so we can meet your preferences as best we can.

  2. If you know of anyone who may be interested in working for us as a support worker, please encourage them to get in touch! We are always on the look-out for new staff who have the right values and attitude to provide respectful and enthusiast support to our clients.Finding the right staff in a regional area can be difficult so BFC is committing to a “grow our own” strategy – supporting staff to gain qualifications and experience over the longer term, and offering staff a career path, so they will want to remain with BFC and in the region.To that end, we are working with the Collinsville and Bowen State High Schools, offering traineeships to students. These students will always be “buddied” with an employed BFC support worker, but at the end of their traineeship they will have qualifications in disability support, and a guaranteed job if they wish to work for BFC. You may meet some of those trainees, so please don’t hesitate to tell them the things it takes to be a great support worker.
  3. BFC’s next Annual General meeting (AGM) will be held in September. While that is some time away, we will be shortly sending out membership renewal forms – you need to be a current member to vote at the AGM.We also have to update the BFC constitution (the organisation’s “rule book”) – the current one is now out-dated (created 9 years ago), and amendments need to be made to comply with new laws and governance practices.
    I will be sending out the draft new constitution in about a month’s time so members have lots of time to consider the new document, before having to vote on it at the AGM.
  4. BFC underwent our NDIS Certification Audit late last year. The auditors stated that while there were some opportunities for BFC to improve its performance, on the whole BFC did extremely well. BFC has addressed all but two of the issues identified by the auditors, and is currently working on addressing those two outstanding issues.If you met with the auditors during that audit, thank you for taking the time to provide feedback to the auditors. Thank you also for the many positive comments the auditors received. While the auditors did not advise what individual clients and other stakeholders said, overall the feedback was very complimentary of BFC and its services, so thank you!
  5. I am a regular attendee at the monthly BING (Bowen Interagency Network Group) meeting, hosted by Bowen Neighbourhood Centre. On 15 May Bowen Neighbourhood Centre is holding a free family fun day at Muller Park.BFC will have a stall there, so if you attend pop in and say hello. You may wish to join in some of the many free events, including the colour fun – have a look at the attached brochure about the event.
  6. We are planning on “open office” at Williams St on the afternoon / morning on Friday 4th June. We will have tea / coffee / fizzy drinks and some light snacks available for those that drop in. I also will be available to chat with BFC members and clients, and their family members, so feel free to say “hello” any time between 2.00pm – 4.00pm. Stay as long or as little as you like, however I will be providing a presentation about BFC changes at around 3.00pm, if you would like to hear that.I look forward to meeting some of you at the event. Please contact Tricia on Ph: 0493 061 947 or by email to let us know if you are attending, so we can organise catering.
  7. A couple of other initiatives we are planning are:
      1. A Client Consultative Committee, to improve communication between members and clients, and the organisation. If you are interested in being part of this Committee please let us know – we are seeking about 9 clients and family members to be on the Committee. The Committee and I (with other managers) will meet on a regular basis to hear your suggestions for service improvements, and address any concerns you may raise.
        A Family Members’ Support Group, for relatives and carers of people with a disability, to have a forum to share and learn from those who have similar lived experience.
      2. A parent of two of BFC’s clients made the suggestion for this group. This parent advised:
      3. There was no forum where families can share their stories, and seek advice and support from others who may have had similar experiences.
      4. She was particularly concerned for those parents with young children who may be recently diagnosed as having a disability, as they often have no one to talk to, who has an understanding of how they are feeling.

    I have offered BFC’s support in advertising and supporting the creation of this family support group. While this will not be a formal BFC “group”, if Bowen families see a need for this group, BFC will help set it up, and support it to “get off the ground”.If you would like to participate in this support group, also please let us know.

  8. Some of the more significant changes that have occurred in BFC include a new Service Delivery structure across BFC. All clients now have a Team Leader allocated to them. This person is a support worker who also has some
    management-type responsibilities regarding ensuring your services are high quality, and your NDIS and other paperwork is kept up to date.If you have not been advised who your Team Leader is, please ask any support worker, who should be able to tell you.Feel free to get in touch with your Team Leader, as your first point of contact, if you have any concerns about your services – best email is, or phone the office on 4786 4755.We have also employed a Client Liaison and Psychosocial Support Officer, Kerrie-Ann Wilson. Kerrie-Ann has a psychology degree and has worked in various human service positions. Her BFC role is to work with our clients and staff, to ensure clients’ life goals are progressed, and clients and their families/carers are respected, and well supported, by the organisation.These changes are designed to ensure clients get more personalised service, and have dedicated points of contact for making enquiries about their service provision. Please feel free to contact your allocated Team Leader or Kerrie-Ann regarding any service delivery questions you may have.
  9. If you are internet-savy, you may wish to explore BFC’s new website. We are making regular improvements to the information on that website. We hope you like our new look site and it provides relevant information. Over time, we will be loading more and more information onto that website. See
  10. Until next time, I trust you and yours stay well and healthy in the COVID-normal of life these days. I look forward to any feedback / questions you may have regarding the above information – if you wish to contact me or Tricia about anything best phone number is 4786 4755, or by email

Faileen James
General Manager