WA AIDS Council puts Queer Film Festival and STYLEAID on hold

The WA AIDS Council has announced it will be putting some of its fundraising activities on hold following a major review of the organisation’s operations and branding.

In a message posted on the WA AIDS Council Facebook page CEO David Kernohan said a recent independent review of the organisation’s fundraising activities over the last five years had highlighted to the board a number of issues that would need to be considered in planning for the future.

“In looking at the financial aspects of STYLEAID, including the Photographic Exhibition and the Queer Film Festival I would like to thank KordaMentha who conducted an independent limited financial review of WAAC’s fundraising activities over the last 5 years.

“The financial review has revealed a number of issues the Board needs to consider to ensure the viability of STYLEAID for the next five or so years.” Kernohan said.

The CEO said that as a result of the review neither the STYLEAID photographic exhibition, nor the Queer Film Festival would be held in 2019.

“Once the Board has considered the Report by KordaMentha and the report on branding by OMKG, I will be in a position to advise about new STYLEAID events.” Kernohan said.

For 20 years the annual STYLEAID ball saw Perth’s socialites and fashion industry identities come together for an annual gala event to raise money for the WA AIDS Council. While the STYLEAID ball was one of the first big fundraisers on Perth’s social calendar, over the years the market became crowded with many charity balls competing for high-flyers attention.

The last STYLEAID ball was held in 2017 and the organisers had promised it would return as a revamped and reimagined event in the future. The STYLEAID brand continued with an annual photographic exhibition and last year a simpler fashion fundraiser was held. STYLEAID Zero Art switched out the opulent ballroom of Crown Towers for a warehouse event in an art gallery setting.

The Perth Queer International Film Festival had been run for several years at The Backlot Cinema in West Perth. The festival had showcased a selection of international LGBTI feature films and regularly saw sold-out sessions.

Alongside the financial review from KordaMentha, the WA AIDS Council has received funding from Lotterywest to conduct a review of its branding. This work is currently being conducted by OMKG.

The news of the pause on the high profile fundraising events come as the WA AIDS Council goes through a period of change under the leadership of David Kernohan who joined the organisation two years ago. With changing demographics around new cases of HIV the organisation is working to ensure its services are best suited to meet the needs of people living with HIV today.

Last week the organisation announced long serving staff member Lisa Tomney would be leaving the organisation later this month. Tomney was the Manager of Clinical Services, her departure from the organisation follows several other staff resignations in recent months.

“Lisa has been dedicated and committed to clients and has worked hard over the years for clients and WAAC. On behalf of the Board, myself and staff I would like to thank Lisa for her commitment and hard work and to wish her every success and happiness in the future.” David Kernohan said.

“Although it seems there is a lot of change occurring, I emphasise WAAC’s commitment to providing quality, professional and targeted services to meet identified and agreed needs with clients. This will not change.”

The organisation’s most recent annual report shows that in 2017-18 the organisation had 51 staff members and 140 volunteers. The fundraising income was listed as $263,958, but fundraising costs were also considerable at $175,621.

OIP Staff