Over 40 years of providing Community Service to the over-50s of Canberra

Strategic Plan Background

Woden Seniors Strategic Plan – Background

The Canberra Community Foundation provided funding during 2003 for the Woden Senior Citizens Club (WSCC) to develop a comprehensive 10-year plan for the social and physical development of the Club as a self-sufficient, broadly-based and socially-responsive community service.

To assist with this task WSCC engaged consultants experienced in strategic planning and who were sympathetic to the aims of the Club. An independent Project Advisory Group was formed to assist in guiding the project. Initial work involved research on: likely demography changes; services and arrangements of similar clubs in Canberra; support policies and the programs provided for the aged and seniors clubs by all levels of government across Australia; the organisational and resource arrangements of WSCC; and ACT Government land planning arrangements. A key element was determining the views of WSCC members on the Club and its programs. The results of the research were comprehensively discussed at a one-day workshop of WSCC members and supporters.

The next 10 years could see the current membership of WSCC increasing from 600 to about double its current size, particularly if more active promotion of its activities is undertaken. This will present challenges as members value the Club’s current informal and friendly atmosphere and supportive and caring environment. Nevertheless, members generally recognise the need for expanded facilities and conduct of additional activities. A major limitation for WSCC in meeting the growing needs of an increasing aged population is the burden of administration of a large club and the lack of income sufficient to finance necessary facilities expansion. While the Club values its concessional land lease, it is not provided with direct funding support from the ACT Government, unlike the situation in the States where senior citizens and many equivalent clubs are much more strongly supported by local governments.

As part of the planning process the Club has developed and endorsed a Vision, Values and Purpose. Additionally, it has developed four goals covering the areas of Activities and Services, Membership, Facilities, and Management, Governance and Financial Management. These goals will be pursued by undertaking 24 specific objectives with associated time targets.

To manage this process, detailed Action Plans have been developed covering all objectives. Implementing the strategic plan is critical to the future of the Club, but it presents significant challenges for an organisation with facilities that have functional limitations and with the majority of members aged over 70. Accordingly, changes will be required to increase the level of day-to-day administration and the volunteer management arrangements. A critical issue will be eliciting financial assistance to rectify existing facilities problems and enable the Club to handle expected demographic increases.

To assist similar organisations, a separate ‘blueprint’ document has been produced that explains the development of the plan and provides guidance on undertaking such a planning process.