Three-year lifeline for not-for-profit

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association successfully pleads for financial help from Bunbury City Council.
Camera IconBunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association successfully pleads for financial help from Bunbury City Council. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Association has been thrown a lifeline, securing extra funding for the next three years.

The not-for-profit organisation feared it would be forced to close its doors if Bunbury City Council did not provide further financial support.

At its meeting this week, the council unanimously supported releasing $25,000 to the centre for this financial year and a further three-year agreement worth $50,000 a year.

The funding is subject to progress reports on key performance indicators and an “absolute understanding” the money is not used to subsidise the meals on wheels aspect of the association.

The council’s support followed a passionate deputation from the centre’s treasurer Jacinta Thomson, who said staff and volunteers would be “devastated” if forced to close.

Ms Thomson said it was “outrageous” that centre manager Bev Buck had not had a pay rise in the six years she had been employed and that the organisation provided a vital service that catered for a part of the community that “received very little support”.

Ms Thomson also made suggestions there was an “elephant in the room” in the centre being located on “prime real estate” the City would benefit financially from.

Mayor Gary Brennan told the South Western Times the council had “never contemplated” an alternative use for the site.

“What we have suggested is they look at extending the shared use of their building with others — which they do already — to get a greater revenue scheme,” he said.

Mr Brennan said the value of the centre had never been questioned by the council and it provided a vital service to the community.

Mrs Buck told the Times, said the organisation was happy with the decision but there was still work to be done.

“It’s been a long, hard process but the outcome has been worthwhile,” she said.

“It means continuation of services, we will still have to work hard to keep our head above water but it’s a start.”

The council declined the centre’s other request for marketing support after Mr Brennan used his casting vote in a six-all vote.

Mrs Buck said she was disappointed with the refusal and marketing and promotion would still need to be “figured out” by the centre.

Mr Brennan said the changes the centre needed to make were “within their capacity”.

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