Our 21st year of 2017 was another year of achievement for Westside Circus. In short our enrolments remained solid and we recorded a small surplus from our operations.
In 2017 in our various circus activities we ran for young people, there were:
• 3,000 unique participants;
• 145 programs;
• 1,280 workshops; and
• 15,745 workshop experiences.
In addition, as a consequence of our CEO and staff securing funding from the European Union and the Victorian Government, we hosted young people from Brazil, Sweden and the UK with their trainers and supporters along our own troupe in November. We followed this up with taking our troupe to the UK in March 2018, along with a number of parents and family members who accompanied us. We have also sent a couple of trainers to Sweden to undertake training and support for circus there.
This set of opportunities has meant not only that our students have met new friends from other countries, but also experienced a very different array of styles, skills and performances from these countries.
We hope to be able to continue with similar activities in future years. I want to particularly acknowledge the work of Simon and Jane in securing the funding and undertaking the considerable work involved in these impressive projects.
I also want to warmly acknowledge the work of Christine Ritter managing our difficult finances and providing terrific administrative services for Westside over the last few years. She has done an absolutely sterling job. She has advised that she will be returning to Germany in mid 2018 to pursue new work opportunities related to her psychology studies. There is no doubt she is leaving us in a much better shape as a result of her work. We thank her and wish her well for the future.
In 2017, we welcomed four new directors to the board. Alexia White has brought her legal and other skills to board at the 2017 AGM. Michelle Armstrong, Dr Christopher Bell and Olivia Allen joined us during the year. They bring very considerable expertise in youth arts, production and management to Westside.
Anne Derham will be leaving the board at the 2018 AGM. Anne joined us a few years ago when Westside was facing considerable challenges. Anne has been instrumental in assisting management on key projects and contributing to the organisation’s strategy and direction. It has been just terrific having her on the board with the depth of expertise she has bought from, amongst other things, her corporate, communication and arts background. We wish her well for the future.
In closing, thanks to all of Westside’s board directors, staff, trainers, parents and volunteers for the work they have done to support us providing exciting circus arts and fun for our young participants.