Limbs 4 Life

Limbs for life

Melissa Noonan, 2nd from left, with Limbs4Life clients.

Limbs 4 Life, an organisation providing amputees with information and peer support, was established in 2005 by CEO Melissa Noonan and programs manager, Jacinta Dyson.

After an accident, Melissa had her right leg amputated above the knee. During her rehabilitation she saw a need for an organisation that could provide up-to-date information and a network of peers to support new and existing amputees to improve social inclusion, return to work and retain their independence.

With three permanent staff including Melissa and Jacinta, Limbs 4 Life is, in Melissa Noonan’s words, “staff poor.” The organisation has a strong network of volunteers but no permanent business support to assist with strategic planning to move Limbs 4 Life into the future.

In 2009 a group of Leadership Victoria ExperienceBank  Leadership Program participants worked with Limbs 4 Life to lift the public profile of the organisation by developing a marketing and communications strategy.

Through a number of meetings with Melissa and Jacinta the group also identified other pressing issues, such as developing sustainable funding for the organisation, which needed to be addressed in order for Limbs 4 Life to expand nationally and implement their marketing and communications strategy.

Initially, the group approached the project without a clear idea of the issues within the organisation that needed to be addressed. After meeting with the board of Limbs 4 Life they quickly established a number of directives, which they worked on individually, using the strengths of each participant, and as a group.

The EBLP participants elected a Project Leader, Mike Flower, to be a conduit between the team and the organisation. This allowed the team to establish three sub groups to tackle different areas of the organisation.

While the project had its challenges, difficulties accessing meaningful data about the organisation and the prohibitive nature of tackling small projects with a large group were quickly overcome.

The team successfully developed a marketing and communications strategy, identified and implemented partnership and networking strategies and looked at funding opportunities on a state, federal and local level.

Many of the participants have established a real connection to both Melissa and Jacinta and to the organisation itself, resulting in a continued association with Limbs 4 Life, the extension of initial projects and the development of new ones, particularly in acquiring funding for the organisation.

Melissa Noonan said it is always rewarding to get feedback from outside the organisation.