The power of one: Windana and TaskForce merge to expand services

Posted on 28 Sep 2023

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Alcohol addiction

Two of Victoria’s longest running drug and alcohol services are set to merge into a single organisation.

The union between Windana and TaskForce Community Agency will come into effect on Monday, November 20.

The CEOs of both organisations said Windana and Taskforce had a shared history and commitment to the sector and the voluntary merger would allow the new organisation to provide more services to a greater number of people across the state.

“People experiencing harm from alcohol and other drugs, challenges with family violence, mental health concerns, and social disadvantage should always have access to the life-changing services Windana and TaskForce provide,” said Windana CEO Andrea McLeod.

“However, as demand for these services has grown, the cost of delivering those services continues to increase and outpace our funding.”

Ms McLeod said working together made sense for both organisations.

“Together, we can pool resources, share experiences and strengthen each other’s ability to work for our clients and community.

Windana CEO
Windana CEO Andrea McLeod.

“We can be a stronger voice, better able to advocate for effective evidence-based policy and funding.”

Operating for more than 50 years, Taskforce helps clients based in southeast Melbourne to deal with issues ranging from drug and alcohol problems to family violence and assists people to rebuild their lives through access to education, training and employment.

Windana was established in 1984, and its 2021–2022 annual report showed a steadily increasing demand for the organisation’s services, with more than 3,500 individual treatments and 37,052 calls for help.

More than 34% of drug treatments related to alcohol; 28% were for methamphetamine use and 18% related to cannabis.

The merger would have no impact on the provision of current services by either organisation, and existing contracts would be honoured, Ms McLeod said.

The impact on staff would also be minimal, she said, with all current Taskforce staff apart from retiring CEO Ray Blessing and two other members of the senior executive team to become Windana employees.

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