President’s Annual Report 2018

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. It costs the City of Warrnambool Eisteddfod Society approximately $75,000 annually to provide adjudicators, prizes, insurance, venues and pay music royalties in order to provide quality competitions. Without the significant financial assistance of the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, the Ubergang Trust and Creative Victoria – our range and depth of competition would be sorely impacted and greatly reduced.

Significant patronage from Felicity Melican has enabled the Speech and Drama section and the Debating section to achieve balanced budgets along with other cost cutting measures taken by the Convenors of these two sections. Particular thanks go to Ann and Helen for their productive partnership. What a final act of accomplishment. We farewell Ann and Helen from the Committee of Management and hope that we continue to see their smiling faces at our competitions. Big shoes to fill, but Nikki Baker has a proven template to follow. The Senior Aria secured its immediate financial future with major sponsorships from the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation and the Ubergang Trust.  Well done Chris Hayes. Chris’s successful requests to the philanthropic trusts and her film fund raising nights have been hugely responsible for the reversal of the Society’s fortunes.  But the “Cinderella” story belongs to the Dance section. They managed to achieve a modest surplus despite the lack of major sponsors and patrons. Huge congratulations to Elizabeth Field for her energy and resolve and her budgeting prowess.

The turn around from last year’s financial woes has been breath taking. Thank you to all convenors and committee members for making the dream of financial sustainability move from insubstantial hope to rolled gold reality. We still have sections which need to move their expenditure budget closer to their revenue forecast – 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 bask in the glow of such a beautiful set of numbers.

Kay Porter has been a dynamo of an acquisition. Her skill set in technology is way beyond our understanding and we are truly excited about Kay’s vision of where the Society may go and the journey she has mapped out for us. It has been a complex problem to deconstruct, but Kay’s energy and intellect have proven more than capable to unravel the tangle and see her way through the maze. This has 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. Thanks to Gerard securing a grant from the City of Warrnambool, I can announce at this AGM that next year, competitors who come from any “disadvantaged” background (Koori or Pacific Islander heritage, single parent, care giver is a health care card holder, where English is the second language spoken at home, parent or guardian is a pensioner) will have their entry fees paid for from this grant. We hope that teachers will use this opportunity to encourage student participation in the Eisteddfod competitions.

Robert Coffey,