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President’s Annual Report 2019

The City of Warrnambool Eisteddfod Society is proud to provide competition for Speech and Drama, Senior Vocal Aria, Debating, Calisthenics, Music, Dance and Scottish Highland Dancing. I encourage everyone to marvel at the artistry and mastery of our 9,000 competitors.  And I encourage you all to let all your friends know how much you enjoyed the performances of these young men and women, boys and girls.

Special thanks to our major sponsors. The gross cost to the City of Warrnambool Eisteddfod Society for 2019 was $87,000 to provide adjudicators, prizes, insurance, and venues, and pay music royalties in order to provide quality competitions. Without the significant financial assistance of the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, the Uebergang Trust and Creative Victoria – our range and depth of competition would be sorely impacted and greatly reduced as the costs would need to be passed on to the competitors and many would not be able to afford those costs.

Significant patronage from Felicity Melican has assisted the Speech and Drama section and the Debating section to achieve balanced budgets. Particular thanks and congratulations go to Nicky Baker for such a successful first year of operations. Debating was affected by my absence which meant that Greg could not adjudicate and we were fortunate that Mr Jeff Keith was available. Senior Aria secured its financial future with major sponsorships from the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation and the Uebergang Trust.  Well done Chris Hayes. Chris’s successful requests to the philanthropic trusts have been hugely responsible for the reversal of the Aria’s fortunes. Dance again balanced their budget and the Music section has taken significant strides towards achieving this milestone. Calisthenics will need to review its costs to hold their competition and its potential sources of revenue raising, as significant losses were sustained for the second year.

The turn around from the financial difficulties sustained by the Society two years ago has been breath taking. Thank you to all convenors and committee members for committing to making the dream of financial sustainability an imperative. We still have sections which need to move their expenditure budget closer to their forecast revenue – but improvements have been noted and sustainable budgets will be achieved for all sections sometime in the near future. Sue Holland has taken over the Fund Raising Convenor’s role and she can rightly claim to have almost singlehandedly changed the Society’s fortunes by targeting small donations from Warrnambool’s businesses. Thank you Sue and Warrnambool’s business community.

Kay Porter has continued to excel with her social media blitz. Her skill set in technology is way beyond our understanding and we continue to be excited about Kay’s vision of where the Society may go and the journey she has mapped out for us. Kay’s energy and intellect have proven more than capable to unravel the tangle of our web pages and see her way through this confounding complex maze. This has again relieved the Executive of a lot of stress – many thanks Kay.

Finally, to our Treasurer Gerard Barker and Secretary Greg Allison – many thanks for your advice and support. The position that the Society finds itself in at this AGM is in no small part attributable to you two office bearers as much as anyone else. The number of competitors has grown. Most of our sections have embraced and are close to achieving balanced budgets. We are grateful to the volunteers who assist in making our competitions possible, particularly Warrnambool’s Rotary Clubs. Without their cash donations and the Rotarians who volunteer their time and skills, our competitions would be severely limited. We thank them profusely. The future for the City of Warrnambool Eisteddfod Society is looking secure.


Robert Coffey,  President

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