Our primary focus during the entirety of this pandemic has been the safety of our communities most vulnerable. We’ve consistently had an eye on the future, ensuring that we make the safe and appropriate transition from crisis mode to recovery, and now into Covid normal mode.

This year reaffirmed just how essential our work really is. Our teams faced complex environments day in, day out, to keep clients safe – on top of their own family and community’s safety and security. It’s the most complex dichotomy I’ve ever worked in. But we got through it.

By year’s end, Melbourne had flagged the title of being the world’s most locked down city. It was tough, but necessary. And it didn’t stop us – if anything, it gave us extra fire in our bellies.

We contributed to keeping vulnerable communities safe through effective health messaging and communications. When vaccines finally started arriving, we were at the ready to promote vaccination efforts amongst our clients – the young, the not-so-young and the highly vulnerable.

From delivering vaccines on Melbourne’s most iconic laneway to promoting vaccination in several different languages to our multicultural families and friends scattered across our heartland.

We saw the hardest hit communities being families entrenched in cyclical poverty and our multicultural communities right up through Melbourne’s north – from Coburg to Craigieburn, and everywhere in between.

Insecure work, non-English speaking families and many folks living under the one roof made Covid safe and vaccination very difficult. But an enormous groundswell of community camaraderie and targeted campaigns saw vaccination rates in Hume alone jump from 23% to 75% in just 3 weeks.

Goes to show that with the right tools - everyone can achieve. 

As I reflected on the silver linings of the past twelve months, I realised the enormity of support injected into the social sector in 2021 – particularly in the homelessness, youth mental health, alcohol and other drug support and jobseeker areas alike. To our partners, donors & funders, we are forever grateful.

Our sector has been screaming out for this sort of attention and funding injection for decades, and now that we’ve got it, we must fight to maintain it and truly resolve some of our communities most complex social issues with this once-in-a-generation opportunity. Beyond our own funding we continue to advocate for investments in affordable housing, mental health education for families and in schools as well as raising the rate of income support payments to above the poverty line.

Closer to our own home, our team have worked around the clock of every day this year to not only respond to the immediate crises but scale our response, launch 6 new initiatives, welcome over 35 new team members and expand into 10 new communities.

As we surface for air again, we must look forward. We must look well into the future at what we know is needed and how we can drive impact at the ground level, whilst influencing systemic reform for effective, long-term change.

Moving into the new year, we’ll evolve our focus more towards articulating outcomes under our Theory of Change and Impact Outcomes Framework, continue scaling services to meet demand in new communities and launch our new organisational strategy to take us toward 2025 and 2030.

To our team. A massive thank you for their unrelenting efforts and dedication – true changemakers and frontline warriors.

To our Board. Their ability to manoeuvre quickly for effective decision making, and guidance in governing an organisation through this pandemic is truly remarkable. A great partnership that we have built together.

To our funders, partners and supporters. Your unyielded commitment to enabling us to do what we do best, as the experts in our field, we’d be nothing without you.

To our clients. We see you, we hear you and we will continue being right by your side – we’re here for you. Stay safe.


Thank you.


Ben Vasiliou

Chief Executive Officer, Youth Projects