Established in 1980, the Society has been working with people affected by ME/CFS and associated conditions for over 34 years. In an environment where the condition has received very little acknowledgment, even less research has been undertaken and people affected have been unacknowledged and suffered for that lack of recognition, the work of the Society has been necessary and appreciated. This has provided a solid basis for moving into the future.
The landscape in which we undertake our work is slowly changing. Research into ME/CFS is gradually increasing, the impact of chronic illness in general is being acknowledged, and international acceptance of ME/CFS as a real condition is greatly increased. It is up to Australia to catch up to the rest of the world and to ensure that those affected in our own country are not left behind when we see how this condition is understood, managed and treated.
The most immediate task for the Society is to improve how ME/CFS is understood and supported in Australia. We will achieve this by building strong partnerships that will ensure that people affected by ME/CFS have access to a broad range of accessible and affordable programs that enhance their quality of life. And to ensure this, we need to build a financially sustainable and transparent organisation.
Key strategies for 2014-17
Objective 1: Improve how ME/CFS is understood and supported
By June 2017, ensure that appropriate health professionals in Australia have received information/education about ME/CFS and that the unmet needs of people affected have decreased by 20%
- Formally launch the new organisation name “Emerge Australia”.
- Broaden the communications plan to ensure that key messages about ME/CFS and related conditions reach more of the appropriate stakeholders.
- Conduct the first of a regular unmet needs survey of people affected by ME/CFS and related conditions.
- Redevelop Health Promotion Strategy to ensure it is responsive to members needs and embeds an understanding of self-management and best-practice.
- Establish Emerge Australia as a clearing-house for information about ME/CFS and related conditions.
Objective 2: Build strong partnerships
By June 2017, Emerge Australia will be engaged in at least 3 significant partnerships that improve how ME/CFS is understood and supported.
- Identify and approach organisations who are delivering support, self-management and health programs to people with chronic illness to introduce ME/CFS and related conditions into their program delivery.
- Work with identified partners to develop education programs/information resources about ME/CFS and related conditions for health practitioners and general public.
- Engage with other associations/organisations/institutions that support people affected by ME/CFS to develop a coordinated approach to improving how ME/CFS is understood and supported across Australia.
- Review membership retention and attraction and develop a strong membership program to ensure we continue to represent the interests of a broad range of people affected by ME/CFS.
- Work with members/supporters to build a stronger and more resilient ME/CFS community
Objective 3: Facilitate access to a broad range of accessible affordable programs to enhance quality of life
By June 2017, Emerge Australia will be working with appropriate organisations to ensure that people affected have information about where/how to access services which meet their identified needs.
- Review, streamline and develop current service offerings based on the Member’s Survey of November 2013.
- Source programs being offered that can/do support people with ME/CFS and related conditions for inclusion in clearing-house
Objective 4: Build a financially sustainable and transparent organisation
By June 2017, Emerge Australia will be funded by donations (50%) and trusts/government (20%), membership (30%)
- Work with funders (existing and potential) to develop a stable funding base.
- Identify potential funding partners to develop financial support for education/information projects.
- Work with community fundraisers to raise both funds and awareness of ME/CFS.