30/03/2015 - 16:42

Regions next for SolarisCare services

30/03/2015 - 16:42

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More Western Australians are asking for the cancer care provider’s unique model of services.

Regions next for SolarisCare services
OUTWARD: David Edwards wants to grow SolarisCare’s services and locations from its current bases at Nedlands, Subiaco, Albany and Bunbury. Photo: Attila Csaszar

More Western Australians are asking for the cancer care provider’s unique model of services.

Cancer support organisation SolarisCare is set to expand the reach of its services in response to growing demand across the state.

Since its formation in 2001, SolarisCare has become the biggest provider of supportive care and complementary treatments of its kind in Australia, primarily through the creation of a tightly knit community that rallies together at difficult times, according to chief executive David Edwards.

Now, Mr Edwards is hoping to bring his volunteers on a ride even more gruelling than its major fundraiser, the eight-day 1,000-kilometre Red Sky Ride, which this year raised more than $410,000.

SolarisCare, which annually provides more than 9,000 free treatments such as counselling, massage therapy, and exercise and nutrition programs to more than 5,000 cancer patients and their carers, is looking to grow both its services and locations from its current four bases in Western Australia.

“Lots of hospitals and communities are seeing what we’re doing and saying that is a really valuable service and can you bring it here,” Mr Edwards told Business News.

“Fiona Stanley is an obvious choice, the northern corridor in Joondalup is a very strong environment but there are other regional centres, whether it be Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, a north-west centre.”

Mr Edwards has drawn on corporate support from organisations such as Deloitte to determine how best SolarisCare can achieve sustainable growth and continue to retain and reward its volunteers, many of whom have been with the organisation for more than five years.

Deloitte operate a program for us called ‘innovation café’ where they basically bring partners and managers together with our own stakeholders … we say these are the challenges we’re looking at, diversifying income, retaining and rewarding volunteers, how do we build awareness and look for the next innovation of services we can provide and they talk us through that process,” Mr Edwards said.

He said SolarisCare volunteers were intrinsically motivated by their own experiences helping loved ones who had cancer and SolarisCare complemented this by keeping them informed, giving them ownership of tasks, and providing new skills and training.

“Every month we get one or two visitors from the eastern states coming across and asking us how we operate because it’s such a respected model. Our founder Dr (David) Joske presented at the cancer symposium last year and was very feted over what we’ve been able to achieve on a volunteer level,” he said.


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