There is no doubt that 2023 has been a challenging year for many people. While we are now ‘back to normal’ after several years of covid disruptions, the opportunity that was presented to us to bounce back ‘better’ has not been fully realised.
This year, I have had the benefit of meeting, learning and thinking with colleagues and peers far and wide. It has included revived and new connections with people in Australia, a learning trip to the US and Canada, and four weeks offline to reflect and recognise the best way that Wyatt can contribute to systemic impact for people experiencing poverty.
And what I can see, is that if we keep only doing the same things we have been, nothing is going to change. There are people in dire need, and that immediate need cannot be ignored. At the same time, we need to be advocating more strongly and pushing ourselves beyond comfort zones to create the change we want to see.
Wyatt is well known for providing assistance for some of these immediate needs, and while that will continue, we are also shifting some of our grant making to deliver on goals that we believe have the potential to deliver greater impact.
We will deepen our focus. There are many pathways into poverty and there is no one single face of financial hardship.
Spreading our resources thinly across as many people as possible means we don’t have the opportunity to provide the deep support that can more permanently turn a person’s circumstances around.
Enabling people to receive varied support will become a core function of much of our grant making. As an example, this could mean that an individual accessing Wyatt funded financial counselling, may also receive funds to have a utilities bill paid, while also receiving support to gain stable housing. And the decision making on what support is provided, will always be informed by an individual’s circumstances, rather than our own assumptions.
To change policies and systems that hold disadvantage in place, we recognise the need to contribute to the evidence base of what works, and deepen relationships and connections with others and across our programs.
We as an organisation are also aware of the very privileged position we sit in, having resources to enable and support others.
Yet, it is not our place to speak on behalf of others. Key to strengthening relationships is elevating unheard voices. We will strive through our grant making to ensure that South Australians experiencing poverty have the opportunity and power to share their knowledge and solutions.
In the coming months you will find more information on our website about our strategy and the work we are doing to advance our vision of a South Australia free from poverty. Things may look a little different, but our focus and determination to provide support to South Australians who need it has never been stronger.