Category: Beyond Banking
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Sub category: Dreamstarter
20 May 2015

Pledging together: a social movement for lifelong change

What is the one thing that you could do better? A year after her successful Dreamstarter campaign, Mary Freer, Founder and CEO of Change Day Australia, explains how every little bit counts.  

Mary, tell us about Change Day

At Change Day, our mission is to inspire and mobilise frontline health workers everywhere – clinicians, allied health and auxillary staff, leaders, patients and the public – to do something better together. To do this, they make a pledge at and then report back on the positive impacts they’ve made by implementing their pledges.

What’s the inspiration behind it?

With a growing burden of disease, an ageing population and a shrinking workforce, it’s no longer a question of whether the potential for safer, more effective health care exists. Now we’re asking how we realize that potential across the entire system for every patient, every client and every family.

It’s not always easy; hierarchy and tradition can make it difficult for some health workers to initiate changes that can improve patients’ experiences. Through Change Day we are creating a social movement in health and social care that will inspire people to connect with the values that brought them into health and social care in the first place.

What have you been able to achieve this year?

46,800 people made a pledge! On 11 March, we received pledges from hospitals, health services and aged care services around the country– with thousands of creative ideas for how to improve services for patients. Even I didn’t expect that result. The result is up 31,000 from last year, which shows how the movement is growing.  In Victoria many health services provided funding to help us to grow the movement.

Since our Dreamstarter campaign, we’ve expanded the tribe of passionate people that support this project. Crowdfunding really helped other people to own our story as their own. By donating small amounts and wearing our t-shirts they became involved and wanted us to succeed. It helped us to become bolder about asking people to grow Change Day.

What has been the impact of your activities?

In many hospitals they’ve improved the sleeping environment for patients at night and the food that is served.  In some aged care services they are combatting stereotypes about ageing and encouraging older people to become more active. At the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, they’ve started an initiative called #hellomynameis to ensure every health worker introduces themselves before providing any clinical care. At CoHealth  in Victoria they have created ‘active maps’ for people to get to and from the service without relying on cars.

ING DIRECT’s Dreamstarter initiative provides funding support to selected StartSomeGood campaigns and helps Australia’s most inspiring go-getters make a positive change in Australian communities. To find out more about the program visit

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