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A year like no other

14 December 2020

“As an organisation we are known for going above and beyond. Our values, passion, and deep empathy are reflected in every facet of our operations and across every touchpoint.”

Dr Vanda Fortunato, Trust Chairperson of the Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust

We were delighted to host our 11th Annual Meeting on Wednesday 9 December, held via zoom as we reflected on the year that was.

Despite the challenges of the past year, or perhaps in part because of them, 2020 has been a year of great accomplishment. We could never have anticipated the challenges we would face this year and yet, in overcoming them, we are presented with an opportunity to reimagine ourselves. A clean slate. A fresh start. A chance for renewal.

We are honoured to announce that this year’s Annual Report, A Year Like No Other, featuring a symbolic all-white cover has now been tabled in parliament and can be viewed here.

Throughout this year and all of the challenges we have faced as a community and a nation, we have remained true to our PRIDE values by putting our community first and leading from the heart. This is evident in our attaining a 90% employee engagement score our highest ever result. Achieving this under the most difficult circumstances is a testament to the strength of our values and our long-term commitment to working on the fitness of our culture.

Our annual report celebrates our 10-year anniversary as an organisation, an important milestone, and an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on our many achievements across the last decade.

We also launched our new purpose-built space for the Centre for Care and Wellbeing, expanding our service offering, and embarking on an ambitious program of operational improvements, all while navigating the challenges presented by COVID-19. Since we launched the Centre in 2017, over 3000 members of the Victorian community have accessed more than 600 activities and vital community programs designed to guide them through the grief process, help them form community, and ultimately ensure better health outcomes.

The programs offered through the Centre for Care and Wellbeing are world-leading and essential to not only the individuals accessing them but to society as a whole. These programs facilitate social cohesion; breaking through the barriers of loneliness and isolation and taking pressure off the wider health care system.

Now, more than ever, the role that we play in bringing people together, in helping them to form connection and community, is a vital service. We have close to 2 million visitors to our sites annually. That is over one-third of Melbourne’s population entering our gates every year.

The events of the past year have reminded us that change is a certainty and it is essential that we navigate these changes in a way that allows us to remain sustainable in the long term.

While we operate on commercial principles, our purpose ultimately drives our decision making, ensuring that we will continue to serve the Victorian community with our sites maintained in perpetuity.

We are looking forward with renewed optimism as we approach the new year. Our community spirit of 'what else' and 'why not', will ensure that our culture of continuous improvement keeps delighting and supporting the community we serve - so we pledge to keep exploring, keep dreaming and keep asking why not.