2015 has been a fantastic year for Fighting Chance; indeed, it has probably been our most successful to date. Our numbers have swelled as we have welcomed more Interns, Work Experience students, open employees, staff and supporters, and we succeeded in opening a second Jigsaw Work Hub in Frenchs Forest.
The early part of the year was all about the Tour de Chance; an epic bike ride in late February/ early March which saw 22 amazing riders cycle an astonishing 1,100KM from Brisbane to Sydney in support of our cause. This year’s ride was a huge success, with a grand total of $450,000 raised and a supporting media campaign which reached a total of 1.7 million people.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in the Tour this year, and particularly the riders and support crew, including Parshu Chenji, Michael Johnston, Richard O’Loughlin, Jeremy Powell, Brett Wilson, Fergus Nelson, Damian Chapelle, Gavin Lister, Peter Ebborn, Stephen Cake, Jack McCartney, Peter Banks, Graeme Wilson, Tim Smealie, Damian Roche, Greg Rector, Dan Powell, Emilio Gonzalez, Glenn Dobson, Paul Brown, Graeme Bricknell, Simon Noakes, Neville Hedge, David Creecy, Franco Ivancich, Charles Kilby, Sean Ross and Jordan O’Reilly.
Thanks also to our corporate partners Accident and Health International, Willis, Veloton, Airservices, Aerosure, Byron Bay Coffee Company, Smartsalary, QBE, Hantomeli Foundation, BTAS, Mitsubishi Motors, Carman’s and Deloitte.
An extra special thanks must go to our Gold Sponsor Just Better Care, and of course the unstoppable Tim Powell.
With the Tour complete, the middle of the year was all about using the funds raised to grow our social enterprises Jigsaw and Avenue.
Top of the to-do list was opening a new Jigsaw Work Hub, to give both social enterprises the space they needed to grow. Over many months we worked hard to adapt the new building to suit the needs of Jigsaw’s team, and in July we celebrated the completion of that project with the official Hub opening. From that moment on Jigsaw has been going from strength to strength, seeing 750% growth in commercial operations to December 2015, and the expansion of the Jigsaw team to 40 across all programs.
Avenue also had a phenomenal 2015. The space created by Jigsaw’s move allowed the enterprise to grow, to support 73 people through our Internship and Work Experience Programs across the course of the year. Work has also been undertaken on the retail business model, and the structure of the Internship Program, to ensure that we are truly supporting each individual to develop their skills and achieve their goals.
The net effect of all of this work has been a significant increase in the organisation’s impact; in 2015 Fighting Chance impacted 113 people with disability across all programs and social enterprises.
Thank you to everyone who has made this year possible for us, including the Fighting Chance team (including 13 new staff members who joined us in the last year), new Board Member Bob Buckingham, and particularly the Corporates, Foundations and Trusts which have supported us in 2015, including Ansvar Insurance, Bennelong Foundation, Goldman Sachs, Eldon and Anne Foote Donor Advised Fund, Mosman Council, James Galvin Foundation, ANZ, Warringah Council, Commonwealth Bank, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation and the John T Reid Charitable Trust. Thank you to you all for everything you have done for Fighting Chance in the last year.
We would also like to thank Premier Mike Baird for his ongoing support of Fighting Chance, including raising over $40,000 to support our work this year through his annual community fundraiser, Nev Hedge whose inaugural golf day raised over $14,000 in September, and every one of you who came to our Annual Dinner or ran the City2Surf for us this year. We really appreciate your support.
We end the year on a real high, with our growth in the Northern Beaches almost complete and our eyes firmly fixed on our next phase of growth across Sydney. We look forward to continuing to share this amazing journey with you all, and to creating a more inclusive society with opportunity for all.