Farewell To Influential Trustee & Former Board Chair Hilary Allison

By Anglican Family Care | Posted: Monday December 14, 2020

At our recent AGM (held in September at St Matthew’s Church), our Board of Trustees Chair Jim Hawker farewelled long-standing Board Member Hilary Allison. Jim acknowledged Hilary’s remarkable contribution, joining the AFC Board in 2000, serving twenty years as a trustee with twelve years as the Board Chair.

Hilary began working life as a trained nurse, and when her two daughters were older, completed the Otago University’s Certificate of Social Work. She was employed by the Department of Internal Affairs and then the Department of Labour as a regional manager of community economic development programmes, in partnership with many community organisations throughout Otago and Southland for over twenty years.

“This workspan traversed a time from when general belief was that the (welfare) state would carry you through from the cradle to the grave; and through changes in legislation in the mid-1980s with such impacts as the closure of government departments such as NZ Forestry, Ministry of Works and local freezing works companies to when many New Zealanders sought alternative employment and re-training opportunities, so they could continue providing for their families, and small towns looked to develop local tourism ventures, local businesses or create training opportunities,” reflected Hilary.

“In that previous work role, I got to see the impact of Anglican Methodist Family Care (AMFC) services, and admire Catherine Goodyear and her stewardship of the agency. This motivated me to join the board when invited, and when staff who worked directly with the families spoke of their work, that was what kept me endeavouring to do my bit.”

Jim Hawker (Board Chair from 2014 to 2020) recalls being approached by Hilary to take over the Chair role prior to her retirement and reflected that it was only the fact that she was remaining on the board that he agreed to accept the role. “I have the utmost respect and gratitude for both Hilary’s strong leadership and enduring guidance, and she will be very sorely missed from the Board,” he said. Indeed, it was Hilary’s reasoning and passion to stay on the Board for another five years, together with her staunch belief in good governance, going hand-in-hand with a quality service and the relevance it holds in the community.

Over the decades Hilary has worked with two Directors - Catherine Goodyear and Nicola Taylor until Nicola’s retirement in late 2018, and recently Mike Williams, who succeeded as General Manager that same year.

“In my short time to date as General Manager, I have seen in Hilary not only an exhaustive knowledge of governance but also a genuine passion for the work this agency does. Having personal experience of being on a Board, I know that you can feel that step removed, but Hilary always brought a desire for better outcomes and honest care for people to the Board table. She understood the complexity of it all.”

Nicola remembers meeting Hilary when appointed as Director of AMFC in 2003 and when Hilary was Board Chair. They developed a close working relationship during Nicola’s tenure (until 2018). “Hilary’s background in community development is a strength, and her network of relationships within the community provided a huge benefit to the agency. The ‘competitive’ approach within the NGO sector was not her preferred strategy, and wecontinued to seek opportunities for collaboration and partnership,” remembered Nicola.

During this time Hilary stepped down as Board Chair in 2014 but continued to make a significant contribution as Board Trustee to the agency.

“Her retirement will leave an enormous gap, but her work over so many years has contributed to the growth and strength of the agency. She will leave things in good heart,” said Nicola.

Hilary’s departing gift to the agency is a fund staff members have suggested be called ‘The Hilary Allison Fund’. This will provide extra client support to help people with mobile phone top-ups and travel assistance, so they can get themselves to counselling and play therapy appointments when they have exhausted their own budget.