Answers to Questions from Slade
Section 1. Company
- Last 5 year’s Audited statements have been placed in Dropbox
- Re Capital raising, to a large extent our fundraising has been not well planned due to lack of resources. Having said that we have had some successes in past 5 years
- $100k donation in 2013 due to closure of a charity
- $14k in 2014 from BCC for Pedestrian Walkway / Guiderail
- $35k Gaming grant in 2012 for Unit Renovations
- $183k donations in past 4 years from a Private Benevolent Foundation / Trust
- $35k Gaming grant in 2016 for Solar Project
- $15k Solar grant in 2017 from Federal Govt Solar Communities program
- $50k Bequest in past 5 years- ongoing annual bequest
- All fundraising in my time has been achieved by management with no input from the Management Committee
- Fundraising for Link Vision Week 2017 currently under way
- Grant applications have typically been to Govts. In my early times at LV I spent a lot of time applying for industry / commercial grants and we have never won one in my time, with common issues being a) we are only Qld based (that was one of the original reasons for eliminating Qld from our name), and b) the strength of our balance sheet. Another common misconception was that because we were a charity, we were receiving significant Government funding.
- We currently have a loan facility of $335k in place. This was set up in 2011 to cover a large renovation we undertook. It was paid down in 2015, however we still have the facility in place
- Our Bankers Westpac, have now confirmed that, based on the past 2 years’ financials, we could borrow up to another $2m, subject to the usual approvals
- Based on May 2017 YTD figures, revenue streams are:
- Retail sale of donated goods- 53%
- Wholesale sale of donated goods- 13%
- Rent for accommodation units- 26%
- Collections- 2%
- Based on May 2017 YTD figures, major cost factors are:
- Staff Costs- 59%
- Shops / Warehouse rents- 18%
- Landlord Cost- 7%
- General Admin- 7%
- Repairs and Maintenance- 3%
General / Legal
- Link Vision Constitution, Certificate of Incorporation and other documents have been placed in the Dropbox.
- Link Vision Inc is not a company, it is an Incorporated Association. Our reporting is subsequently to the ACNC (Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission), OFT Qld (Office of Fair Trading), BCC (as a lessee), and ATO
- BIO’s of ‘Responsible Persons’ has been placed in the Dropbox
- Link Vision is an active member of NACRO (National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations), whose members are Lifeline, Vinnies, Endeavour, Asthma Foundation, Salvos, Red Cross, Smith Family etc. NACRO is the Peak body representing Charity Op Shops / Recyclers in Australia. I am Vice Chairman of NACRO.
- We are also an active member of VIA (Vision Impaired Association) Qld whose members include Vision Australia, Queensland Braille Writers Association (QBWA), Queensland Blind Association (QBA), Guide Dogs Qld, Qld Radio for the Print Handicapped (4RPH), Queensland Narrating Service (QNS) and others. The Association meets regularly at Link Vision
- I am a Director (President) of 4RPH and host my own interview based program Lookaround.
- Over the past few months both 4RPH and QNS have been approached re their interest in a merger with / acquisition by Link Vision
- Link Vision is also a Member of Volunteering Queensland, and many volunteers (including Directors) have been obtained through them and their links with Seek Volunteer
- Part of our Fairfield complex exists on Council property and we have had a good working relationship with Council for nearly 40 years.
- We also have a very good relationship with our local Councillor, who is a regular guest at our functions, and who sponsors our exercise program.
- There are also links to the State Minister for Transport and Energy through a number of residents and their connections with the Labour Party
- In my time, there has been no engagement from Directors in terms of using their networks, and this would be my largest disappointment. A good example would be 3 requests this year for Directors to supply a list of organisations for us to approach re sponsorship for Link Vision Week. Not one response received.
- Re provision of Management volunteers, I am not entirely sure of what you mean, and what these volunteers would do?
- In terms of strong Links to a large organisation that may be able to provide resources etc, the answer at this point has to be no.
- Volunteers for the shops and warehouse are recruited through Volunteering Qld, the work for the Dole Program, existing Volunteers, other agencies and word of mouth.
- Please see Power Point file in Dropbox for Org Structure.
- Presently Link Vision has 20 staff (6 full time, 3 permanent part time, and 11 casuals) across 50 volunteers, some who have been with us for 20 years.
- 2 Shops, Cannon Hill and Geebung are managed and staffed totally by volunteers
- At the end of the March ¼ each year, we obtain rental rates for our Postcode area for that quarter, and charge our residents 60% of that rate for the year July 1st to June 30th.
- All residents pay the same. There have been 2 occasions in my time where rates actually fell year on year, and this is the case from July 1st this year
- Rents for 1 bedroom units reduce from $174.00 per week, to $165.00 per week
- Rents for 2 bedroom units reduce from $210.00 per week, to $207.00 per week
- If a resident has a second person living in their unit, that person pays $50.00per week over the weekly rental
- If the unit is airconditioned, then an extra $10.00 per week is charged to cover Repairs and Maintenance
- R&M costs for the complex is projected to be $37k this FY. This is significantly higher than what we would call normal (usually around $25k) due to a couple of large one-off costs this year. We also cost our volunteer hours each week, and the value this year will be around $12.5k over and above the actual spend
- Over and above the R&M expenditure this year we have spent almost $120k (capital) on fully renovating 5 units, and are in the process of spending just over $200k (capital) on Solar Panels for the whole complex.
Section 2. Products
- Formally known as the Computer Club, Link Education has been operating for around 12 years, and has assisted around 100 people, predominantly children of early school age.
- It is important to note from the outset that 85% of people who are legally blind have some sort of vision (tunnel vision, black and white only, blurred, limited colour recognition, and a myriad of other conditions
- It is also important to note that many people who are legally blind also have other disabilities- cerebral palsy, a range of blood sugar related conditions, and certain mental / intellectual conditions
- In the early days, some training was offered in the home and at Link Vision premises, however these days it is conducted almost entirely in school, during normal school hours
- In theory training could be offered from around the age of 3, and there is really no upper age limit. Over the past few years we have assisted with several Blind refugees
- Our program consists of the provision of 2 training packages, both of which have a desired outcome of increasing knowledge and application of keyboard skills and basic computer programs.
- The first is a highly interactive visual / audible game called Ballyland which teaches basic keystrokes. This program assists not only blind people, also people with partial sight, and is also suitable for people with a range of other disabilities. This technology was developed on the Gold Coast, Link Vision assisted with development costs, and has a license to teach the program. This technology is relatively new.
- The second, the Talking Typer follows on from Ballyland. It is a very basic but effective program which has been available commercially for around 15 years. It is self-paced and contains 16 modules. Depending on disability, students can take anywhere from ½ day to complete the package, to never actually completing. (This is quite common in some special ed schools in which we operate). This program is not hi – tech although has regular updates and is quite effective
- We are always open to looking at new technology, however are making substantial gains in student numbers right now with the existing technology
- There is currently no charge for our Link Education services
- The main barriers to expansion of the program are:
- Funding. The more students / school we currently engage, the more out of pocket we are. We need help to get NDIS funding
- Negativity from School principals, although we seem to be getting somewhere with this all of a sudden
- Re the $100k Griffith Grant, there is no-one currently involved at Link Vision who was involved at Grant time, however I am in touch with 2 people who were involved and they have told me the grant was a waste of money
- We have 3 education mentors, one who is completely Blind, and 2 who have very Low Vision (legally Blind)