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HISTORY OF AFFORD


Foundations formed -1950’s The Poliomyelitis Society was established in June 1951 at the height of the most devastating Polio epidemic New South Wales had ever experienced, when over 1,500 cases were recorded and 121 deaths occurred. The president of the society, Dr Ross Williams, himself contracted Polio in December 1950 and in spite of this still carried on his medical practice. Quite amazingly and dependent upon charitable donations totally, the society served its purpose and demonstrated its ability to immeasurably improve the life of those who contracted Polio, helping them to almost completely recover or reach optimum recovery. From the beginning, the Society’s focus was to help patients reintegrate into society which not only encompassed rehabilitation but also assistance in the purchase of motorcars, provision of manual driving controls, and the training of patients to regain employment and settle in positions arranged by the welfare department. These services, which were under the control of a full-time welfare officer and supplemented by other staff members, were very diverse in nature and included – a) The provision of all types of equipment, such as wheelchairs, calipers, surgical corsets, surgical boots, crutches, etc. b) The provision of housekeeping help. c) The provision of educational and technical training courses and equipment.

Founding President - Dr Ross Williams 2

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d) The provision of manual operating controls for motor vehicles in order for meaningful employment to be undertaken. e) The provision of transport for school, work, hospital, medical treatment, etc. f) The payment of fares to enable country cases to be brought to Sydney for treatment. g) The payment of special medical fees. The Society received its Certificate of Registration under the Charitable Collections Act in October 1951 and in December it was launched at a public meeting at the Sydney Town Hall, presided over by his Worship the Lord Mayor of Sydney, the Hon. E.C. O’Dea MLC. notably at this public meeting, the President of the British Medical Association Dr K Rawle, and other representatives of churches, civic and charitable movements spoke of the Society’s necessity. Early in 1952 fundraising activities commenced helping the deposit to be paid on “Cherrywood” which became the Society’s Orthopaedic After-Care Hospital at Turramurra.

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The Poliomyelitis Society incorporated as a notfor-profit in December 1952.

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May 1953 saw the Society purchase 11 Elamang Avenue in Milsons Point (later known as “Elamang”) to serve as the Society’s Country Polio Hostel and Administrative Headquarters. Elamang was essential in providing accommodation in Sydney for country polio sufferers who required specialised orthopaedic attention that was not readily available in country regions. Still in its infancy, the Society had the foresight to realise that regional branches were needed to adequately support people affected by Polio. In 1953 the first accommodation based services - an After Care Hospital in Turramurra called “Cherrywood” - was opened and served as a rehabilitation home for people with Polio to both meet physical needs and to develop skills to secure employment. Also during this year, eight branches of the Society were established in the regional NSW towns of Bathurst, Orange, Parkes, Wellington, Dubbo, Mudgee, Boorowa and Wollongong. In the following year, three fellowship clubs were established including The St George District Club, The North Shore Club and The Eastern Suburbs Club.

Elamang Avenue, Milsons Point

By 1954 the Society had become well respected for its supports of people affected by Polio. Walking frames, hydraulic lifting apparatus, hydrotherapy pools, respirator and occupational therapy and physiotherapy services were all available for patients. As patients progressed in their treatment, many were encouraged and supported to increase their activity. Some even adapted a game of soccer to ‘kick’ the ball with their walking sticks instead of their feet. Others enjoyed games of basketball with support from an occupational therapist. Patients at Cherrywood always received regular visits from the doctor. It was this compassion coupled with specialist care that fostered the Society’s inherent reputation as a stoic support for the community.

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Patients were first admitted to Cherrywood in June 1955, and in the following month it was officially opened by his Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott KCMG KCB MVO (namesake of Northcott Foundation). During this time, our treatment at Cherrywood fell into three distinct categories: • Physiotherapy • Occupational therapy • Hydrotherapy Cherrywood was a place of learning, where patients participated in skills development in typewriting, bag weaving and even radio communication. The Society was totally dependent on financial donations and volunteers to provide the most support that they could stop in spite of the humble foundations. The organisation provided state of the art medical support and access to the best technology available. Such as a unique electrically operated chair which could climb the stairs at Cherrywood. Manual controls were made available for many types of vehicles; modified office Hydrotherapy Cherrywood equipment such as typewriters helped patients get employment rather than relying on the invalid pension; iron lung technology helped patients with extreme symptoms to breathe; ceiling hoist provided the means to move patients into and out of bed; hydrotherapy pools provided important rehabilitation treatment; and various wheelchairs, callipers & walking sticks helped patients regain mobility. In 1955 the Society received the distinction of the patronage of His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales Lt-General Sir John Northcott, KCMG, MVO.

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The Road Back In 1955 the Society devoted more of its revenue to the direct assistance of Polio sufferers than ever before. £12,609 was spent in maintaining “Cherrywood” After-Care Hospital for the treatment and rehabilitation of more seriously affected sufferers. Treatment consisted of physiotherapy, occupational therapy and hydrotherapy. Physiotherapy, by definition, is the scientific application of exercise, massage or manipulation designed to re-educate wasted muscles and to bring paralysed limbs back into use. Occupational therapy is a system of training handicapped sufferers through the medium of various crafts. It is interrelated with physiotherapy in that it demands co-ordinated physical activity. In addition, it assists morale by keeping patients usefully and constructively occupied. It also embraces vocational guidance and is a major influence in restoring patients to a useful place in the community. Hydro-therapy is a beneficial form of treatment for poliomyelitis sufferers. Patients are suspended in a large bath and receive treatment also designed to assist in restoring movement to wasted limbs. The cost of maintaining ‘Cherrywood’ cannot be compared with the costs involved in a normal hospital by reason of the very special nature of the cases accommodated. These cases, according to the extent of their incapacity, require individual attention and treatment, necessitating the assistance of no less than two, and sometimes three attendants, for the daily routine of washing, dressing and lifting to wheel-chairs. In some instances it is even necessary to train Polio sufferers in such basic functions as feeding themselves.

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An increased amount of welfare work was performed during the year. A constant stream of requests for assistance was investigated by the Society and almost all applicants were helped in some way.


In 1955 the Society operated country branches in Bathurst, Orange, Parkes, Wellington, Dubbo, Mudgee, Boorowa and Wollongong. Further, a series of new branches was being formed in the Riverina area and the Newcastle Maitland districts. These country branches not only provided very useful welfare services but also proved to be outstandingly successful in fundraising activities.

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Immunisation

However, steps had been since taken to ensure the absolute safety of the Australian vaccine.

The Society offered to provide a mobile clinic to assist in the work of immunising children in country areas with the Salk vaccine.

Not only had the Polio vaccine itself proved to be entirely safe, but tests had shown that no complications arose when the vaccine was used to immunise children as young as three months.

For technical reasons this scheme proved impracticable and arrangements were made with the immunisation authorities for the Society to transport stocks of vaccine to immunisation centres each day. Not only did this provide a useful and essential service for the Health Department and the immunisation teams, but it also served to remind the general public of the objects of the Society.

The Society believes that only by the use of such a vaccine will the menace of Polio ultimately be eliminated.

Members of the Society, who had all had some first-hand experience of the effects of Polio, made it their duty to impress upon parents their obligation to have their children vaccinated. Some parents have expressed concern at the unfortunate results arising from the use of the defective Salk vaccine in the USA last year.

Nurses at Cherrywood 20

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Some 16,000,000 children have been immunised with the Salk vaccine since the US experience and there had not been a single failure.

So respected was the Society’s work with individuals affected by Polio, patients came from overseas to seek care. Judith Cash was one such patient, who arrived from New Zealand in a stretcher. After eight months at Cherrywood, Judith returned home to New Zealand in April 1956 without the stretcher.


In 1956 the Society increased its support to Polio sufferers. The Board increased Income by 30% to £42,433 and overhauled the administration function reducing its cost to 28% of the amount spent on direct assistance to Polio sufferers. On October 23 1956 the Society’s name was changed to “The Poliomyelitis and Physically Handicapped Society” and its objects were widened to encompass other disabilities. By this time it was becoming possible for patients to receive care in their own homes making the need for the Cherrywood hospital less important.

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A Time Of Change In 1957 the Society suffered a severe blow through the resignation of its founding president Dr Ross Williams, himself a Polio sufferer, due to ill health. Mr G.C.A de Greenlaw formally Executive Vice President, was elected the new President of the Society. Further, three founding Board members resigned due to personal reasons, Messrs. Arnold Treseder and H.M.Myers and Mrs B.Shepherd. New Board members were Dr. Richard Hodgkinson, who had been a member of the Honorary Medical Panel, and Messrs J Humphreys and H.J.Hobbs. In 1957 the Society saw a 25% reduction in income to £31,569 spent Welfare expenses of £26,476, and admin expenses of £9,332 to deliver an overall deficiency of £4,239.

His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant General Sir Eric Woodward, become a patron of the Society. 22

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A Year of Development 1958 was one of the most difficult and most rewarding years in the history of the Society. “In spite of the difficulties, the Society – • Opened a new City Centre • Established new branches • C  onducted a State-wide Voluntary Census of the physically handicapped • Re-organised and increased its Fellowship activities. The difficulties have been felt by all charitable bodies. Because of the less expansive national economy, there has been a substantial fall in the amount of donations to charitable bodies. This has been accentuated by several factors: • The launching of several major appeals • A growing insularity of councils • The activities of professional fund-raising organisations. It is pleasant to record that the Society, in spite of these financial problems, has been able to achieve a substantial increase in its general activity.” - Mr G.C.A. de Greenlaw

New President - Mr G.C.A. de Greenlaw 24

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In 1958 the new city centre at 266 George Street commenced operations in premises made available by the AMP Society. The city centre provided a much more accessible office for fundraising work and as a result much of the normal welfare work from the society’s headquarters became the responsibility of the branches. These services included: – the provision of hand controls to cars – transport of handicapped people to have essential engagements – housekeeping allowances – provision of appliances – medical treatment – occupational therapy materials – Christmas hampers and so on. An important service provided by the Society was with fellowship groups. The Society’s four fellowship clubs were in the St George district, the North Shore, Eastern Suburbs and Bankstown district. In November 1956 the Board decided that the scope of their operations would be greatly extended authorising: clubrooms in each district – recreational and occupational facilities – medical gymnastics to help physical recovery – orthopaedic and physiotherapy services. Fundraising activities continue to become more sophisticated throughout this period with the advent of the “Cherrywood Cup” golf tournament in 1958 with 30 metropolitan clubs competing. Other fundraising activities included Button Day appeal, “Lucky Numbers” on a Saturday morning, and donations in kind such as the interior fit out of the new George Street property by Director Mr HJ Hobbs New branches were established in Casino, Inverell, Fairfield, HornsbyKurringai and Manning River. Work was being done on further expansion of the country network with welfare officers clocking over 2,000 miles travel assessing the needs of handicapped people in these offices.

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During 1959 the Society saw income starting to grow again with a 20% increase to £35,210 after 2 years of big drops. 74% of this income was spent on services while 26% was spent on administration. The Society proudly was one of the few major charitable institutions in Australia to function without a big overdraft. During the year new branches were opened in Wollongong, Singleton, Camden, Gosford, Narrandera, Parramatta and Glen Innes with further expansion in progress. Significantly, 1959 saw the entry of the Society into the Employment field. It was also noted that Cumberland County Council approved the establishment of the Society’s “Village” project, with a large area of Crown land being made available by a Government land grant.

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Changing Fortunes-1960’s The 1960s brought great relief with the Polio epidemic being controlled largely due to the introduction of the Salk Vaccine. Although hindering new incidences of Polio, vaccines did little for those who had contracted the disease prior to their discovery. The Society recognised that, for people like Lurlien Beeston from Richmond who contracted poliomyelitis when eight years old, their role of support was essential for many years to come. As one of the Society’s success stories, Lurlien Beeston was supported by the Society with transport and other assistance until the birth of her son, Paul. The 1960s saw great expansion and development for the Society. In September 1960, the first supported employment Work Centre, known as ‘Bankstown Centre’, was opened at Gow Street in Padstow. The use of these premises, which were owned by the Bankstown Lions Club, was generously made available rent free to the Society. The golden years of the 1950s had come to a close and 1961 not only saw severe economic conditions but also a resurgence of Polio with 159 cases reported in New South Wales. The society continued to support immunisation and exploited many opportunities to make more people conscious of the dangers of Polio. 1960 was a year of great expansion and vision under the leadership of Mr G.C.A. de Greenlaw, while grassroots services and support grew at a pace, the organisations two key areas of operation for the next 40 years emerged. Firstly, the sheltered workshop at Bankstown provided additional income for disabled workers on top of their pension, social networks for the workers, the self-esteem of once again holding a job, and skills that they may be able to use in open employment. 34

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Secondly, the “Village concept” was progressing at a pace to develop virtually a self-contained community of the physically handicapped that will be unique in Australia and which will provide a prototype for the world. The project called for the erection of housing, a 50 bed hospital equipped with the world’s finest rehabilitation and therapy equipment, agricultural fields, workshops, dining room, recreational hall, commercial laundry, playing fields, swimming pool and shopping, banking, church and post office facilities.


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Remarkably by the end of the decade the Society’s vision came to pass with virtually every listed inclusion. And from this was born the “Cherrywood Raffle” that is still run to this day. Under Mr de Greenlaw’s leadership the organisation was now consistently profitable with a solid balance sheet. Further in 1960 “The Village” became more than a pipe dream when in 1960 the State Government granted to the society 90 acres of Crown land at Kingswood near Penrith. “The Village” was a concept that would deliver a purpose-built rehabilitation and residential facility to replace the original Cherrywood premises at Turramurra. The original Cherrywood was a clumsy property for those with mobility issues. From the outset the concept of the village attracted the support of such influential persons as the Society’s patron, the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Eric Woodward, and the Chief Justice of New South Wales, Dr HV Everett – who had recently consented to become the Society’s vice patron. Also during 1960 The Hon. Roger AA de bryon-Faes M.A. M.Sc. Ph.D. M.L.C. MLC joined the Society as Administrator – a role comparable to CEO/CFO. A member of the Legislative Council, he was a director of Manly District Hospital, Chairman of the Hospital House Committee and a life member of the Royal Society of Health. Dr de Bryon-Faes was the Australian born son of a Belgian diplomat. The organisation was becoming a more complicated entity, with fundraising moving beyond volunteers completing simple fundraising to commercial unions with large prizes of motor vehicles. Further, the costing and accounting for the Bankstown sheltered workshop wrestled with the same complexity and fluctuations that we deal with 50 years later. For many years the society strived to provide thousands of disabled sufferers with money to keep households going to provide employment, transport, food, clothing, calipers, crutches, wheelchairs, therapy treatment and an animal stream of services. As was common at the time, organisations such as Rotary and Lions Clubs provided

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great support along with the trades and labour councils of New South Wales, and Womens’ Auxilliary groups who provided amazing fundraising outcomes. The Society sold the Elamang property at Milsons Point in 1960. The “Bankstown Rehabilitation Centre” provided carefully designed employment for about 50 physically handicapped sufferers under the close supervision of specially trained staff. Piece work was supplied by many industries and during 1960 one room was dust proofed to allow the manufacture of medical products. This is Society’s interest in the Bankstown Rehabilitation Centre was to provide disabled people with a means of social interaction and to teach them a useful trade or craft with which they can supplement their pensions. The Centre was not run for profit and in its first year of operation it received a subsidy of £1,000 from the Society. The “Cherrywood Cup” golf tournament had expanded by 1960. 3,200 women from 87 associate golf clubs participated in the tournament and more than £400 was raised from entry fees. The 1961 Annual Report lamented the shortage of voluntary workers as economic conditions started to see women joining the workforce to make ends meet. In the early 1950s average house prices equalled 1 year of the average wage, but by the late 1960s this had tripled to 3 times the average wage. Although the tightening caused prices to drop to two times the average annual salary a new normal had been set. By the 21st century house prices would grow to four times the average annual salary! The Polio Art Unions were a milestone in the development of the Society in its continual search for new avenues of income. John Phillips, Society Board Member for several years, a Polio victim himself, was the brains behind the development of the Unions. Polio Art Union No. 3 included prizes totalling almost £9,000 with a Lend Lease home for the lucky winner with the sale of half a million 2 schilling tickets. Over the following years first prize became new motor cars.

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In 1961 the Society’s Rehabilitation and Occupational Centre at Bankstown grew from an assembly workshop for 20 people to a centre acquit for all types of industrial finishing providing full time employment for 50 handicapped man and women. In its first full year it generated Income of £3,542 with costs of £9,929. 1961 was also the first Miss Asia Pacific competition which provided the Society with a new regular means of income and also made the work of the society much more widely known throughout the community. Inaugural sponsors were Pan American Airways, Northern Hotels Fiji, Anthony Horderns and many other businesses. The Cherrywood Cup golf tournament of 1961 saw more than 4,000 women golfers from 100 associate New South Wales and New Guinea clubs participate raising more than £500. All of this change came at a cost with the Society registering a loss of £8,374 for 1961, predominantly due to the Bankstown Centre. In 1962 this was turned to a modest surplus of £703. 1962 saw the organisation struggled with considerable difficulty in fundraising. In a sign of the times the effortless prosperity of the 1950s that saw the emergence of many organisations like ours and American multinationals launching and growing exponentially internationally had disappeared as the 1960s begin. The 1950s had seen the USA and Australia prosper with no damage from World War 2 and vast swathes of land bringing a constant influx of migrants. With Russia and China now Communist, and Europe rebuilding, Germany paying reparations until 1962, times were easy. Now in 1962, international competition saw much belt tightening and property prices changed the family dynamic and less volunteerism through organisations emanating from the USA like Rotary and Lions’ Club. Television, for example, changed fundraising dramatically with telethons soaking up charitable donations and hurting our fundraising activities. Coincidentally, in the last quarter of 2018 we suffered a similar problem with a 10% drop in Raffle ticket sales due to the nationally televised Drought Appeals.


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1962 also saw the adoption of a logo for the Society. In 1963 Mr G.C.A. de Greenlaw retired from the Presidency and was succeeded by Mr H Hobbs as President. This heralded a time of changes and decisions when according to the President “definite steps had to be taken involving momentous policy reversals�. This saw a big increase in liquid assets and a write-off of our deadwood. During the year the Board met 18 times outside of sub-committee meetings. In 1963 the The Honourable Roger.A.A. de bryon-Faes M.A. M.Sc. Ph.D. M.L.C. MLC was made a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre by his holiness Pope John XXIII, Sovereign of the Vatican State, and subsequently her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graciously gave her approval to this award. The Honourable Roger.A.A. de bryon-Faes was the sole reply recipient of the Order of Australia.

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The Society’s earliest ‘Village’ concept that would ultimately become modern day ‘Cherrywood’ at Llandilo.

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Another bedrock of the organisation over the coming 40 years was well-established in 1963. Our Art Unions (now Raffles) were a very successful avenue of fundraising and by 1963 had established a hard nucleus of contributors who supported Polio unions year after year. The prize was a popular make of motorcar and the shillings tickets were within the reach of all pockets. Fellowship groups were now expanding beyond centre based activities with holidays to Bundanoon reminiscent of camps we coordinate to this date. In 1963 the Board of Directors of the Society resolved to close the original Cherrywood in Turramurra. While much work had been done to Cherrywood to improve its usefulness it did not lend itself to support patients who were more physically handicapped. During the year the Society received a generous donation from Pan American World Airways. In the 15 years following the end of World War II the USA enjoyed great influence around the world as their multinationals enjoyed a time of little competition and organisations like Rotary and Lions grew rapidly in Australia and through the Pacific and formed strong financial ties that exist to this day. The American

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Society also made a large donation in the early 1960s. By 1964 the design of Cherrywood Village was basically finalised with the Annual Report showing an architects impression almost identical to the finished product.


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1965 was a difficult year for the Society because the Village scheme had still not commenced as they had been unable to convert into cash the equity in the After-Care hospital which would have provided the balance of funds necessary. The pomp and bluster on the change of President and appointment of high-profile Administrator did not deliver any improvement to the organisation, rather a very disappointing result.

problem at some time or another. The need may only be for a word of advice or it may be financial assistance for housekeeping allowance, taxi fares, the purchase of or repairs to some appliances, spectacles, or special medicines and other sundry items, whether great or small. The Society offered to the disabled, through its Welfare Department, a skilled service where each problem is considered individually, allowing those who seek help to retain their dignity and integrity at all times.

During the year His Excellency, The Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden Cutler V.C. K.C.M.G. C.B.E. succeeded as Patron of the Society, and rarely has a man been held in such esteem as he was in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Projects that were underway in 1965 included:

The Welfare Department of the Society still provided a crucial backbone to support and services offered to communities. At the time it was felt that those handicapped who have, at some time or another, had contact with this section, would need no explanation; but the average person would have no idea of the problems that disablement can create, whether of great or lesser degree. In 1964, the Royal Prince Henry Hospital appealed for two respirators (iron lungs, approximate cost £1,420 each), to assist two young mothers. After extensive enquiries in which we sought and obtained the assistance of the Daily Telegraph, the two respirators were procured from Manly District Hospital and the Parramatta District Hospital, which, with the concurrence of the Hospitals Commission, were supplied gratis. The Royal Prince Henry Hospital was notified and agreed to make arrangements for delivery. To say that we assisted with the provision of aids namely 24 wheel chairs, 8 prostheses, 2 lifting hoists, 2 toilet chairs, 10 callipers, 8 pairs of crutched, 26 pairs of surgical boots and 8 surgical corsets needed by the handicapped to help them in their rehabilitation is to tell of only one small facet of the work. Over the years, a service had developed whereby the social worker has endeavoured to establish a relationship of trust, understanding and sympathy between the Society and the patients. It is felt that a handicapped person, even one who has fully accepted the limitations of his or her disability, needs guidance and help with an immediate 56

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1. Cherrywood Village Plans for a brick motel-type hostel and sheltered workshop together with amenities had been completed and approved by the following authorities: The Penrith City Council, State Planning Authority, Metropolitan Water Sewerage & Drainage Board, and The Main Roads Board. In addition, a scale model has been constructed and a quantity of black and white sketches, 30’ x 20’ and 15’ x 10’, had been prepared for publicity purposes. The stupendous task of clearing the land was organised and carried out by the Nepean & District Branch, as well as the laying, 18’ deep, from source to site, and 1 ½ miles of 2’ water piping donated by Wollongong Branch of the Society. The question of chain wire fencing appears next on the programme of Nepean & District Branch. The branches had undertaken to provide the amount necessary for one or more units in the hostel. A unit costs £7,000. Some branches had already contributed to the cost of one unit and have nearly reached the sum necessary for their second. This method of financing the units is of great assistance to the Board of the Society, as most members are aware of the delay and frustration caused by the fact that, after protracted negotiations, the sale of our After-Care Hospital fell through. The Directors were hopeful that this project will be commenced in 1966.


2. Railway Land, Canterbury Railway Station A piece of land owned by the New South Wales Government Railways, situated adjacent to the Canterbury District Polio Club, was leased to the Society and the Canterbury Municipal Council and the State Planning Authority had indicated that they would be prepared to concur in our proposed development scheme, being the erection of a sheltered workshop and offices. Plans had not yet been finalised. 3. North Sydney Sheltered Workshop The long endeavours to acquire the land or premises for the establishment of an additional Occupational Centre met with success as a result of the joint negotiations between the Lions Club of North Sydney, The Poliomyelitis and Physically Handicapped Society and the North Sydney Council. The Council approved the lease of a block of land to the Lions Club to build a modern Occupational Centre for about 40 physically handicapped. The Centre was to be at the rear of the Crows Nest School of Arts. The plans for the proposed building had been passed by the council officers and it remained for the requisite funds to be raised so that operations could commence round about August, 1966. 4. Lugarno Negotiations were being finalised with the Department of Lands for a block of land in the Lugarno area. It was hoped that in the not too distant future, when this area is developed, that the Society will be in a position to establish another modern centre for physically handicapped.

As a result of the interest of the President and Officers of the Lake Macquarie Shire, a suitable area of land at Valentine, situated on Croudace Bay, has been made available to the Society and it is proposed to establish a half-size heated Olympic pool with amenities, together with a minimum of 12 motel-type units and other facilities for residents, all of which is in an ideal permanent holiday atmosphere. The scheme was taking shape on the drawing board and the enthusiasm and energy of the Newcastle Branch and the Ladies’ Auxiliary is such that it won’t be long before the foundations are dug and the plans translated into buildings. These plans were grand but unfortunately few came to pass. The Sheltered Workshop operation at Bankstown was now serving as a source of pride for the organisation and plans were for the extension of this type of activity into other districts, though in 1965 it still lost £3,280. In mid-1967 we changed our name from “The Poliomyelitis and Physically Handicapped Society” to “The Foundation for Disabled”. Polio had been defeated and the public appeared to think that was that! At the close of 1967 the builder handed over to us the completed Stage One of Cherrywood. Through the generosity of the Commonwealth of New South Wales Governments and the people of New South Wales, we presented to the disabled of New South Wales a facility unprecedented in Australian history and equal to any similar type of project anywhere in the world.

5. Valentine – Croudace Bay For some time, the members of the Newcastle Branch of the Society and the Ladies’ Auxilary of the Newcastle Branch, had in mind the erection of a centre for physically handicapped. A tentative scheme had been drawn up for a site at Wangi, but this had proved impracticable.

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Stage o=One is what we know today as Cherrywood Village encompassing 41 self-contained units, together with staff accommodation, kitchen, dining room, lounge, library, TV room, gymnasium, occupational centre, laundry and Boilerhouse. www.afford.com.au

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As the first stage of Cherrywood was coming into operation, the Board focus their attention on a very great night for a geriatric unit with particular attention to the needs of disabled and indigenous. The success of the Bankstown Occupational Centre meant that after 11 years building would commence on a similar service in Canley Vale with the support of the Lions Club of Fairfield Stop with the passing of The Sheltered Employment Assistance Act (which absorbed The Disabled Persons Accommodation Act) and compliance with regulations, the Foundation for Disabled entered into a happy association with the Department of Social Services. This resulted in a grant of $180,885 being made to the organisation, culminating in Stage One of Cherrywood Village. Stage One of the Cherrywood development was opened at 2:30 PM on 12 June 1967 by the Governor of New South Wales Sir Roden Cutler in whose honour it will be known as “Cutler House�. Stage One is what we know today as Cherrywood Village encompassing 41 selfcontained units, together with staff accommodation, kitchen, dining room, lounge, library, TV room, gymnasium, occupational centre, laundry and Boilerhouse. In 1967 with its richly turfed courtyard Cherrywood Village could be mistaken for a first class motel with each self-contained unit opening onto either of two courtyards, one of which has a heated swimming pool. The design, right down to the adjustable heights of showers, placement of toilets, layout of handbasins for wheelchair access, drive in wardrobes take into account special needs of the disabled. There is an electronic device in every unit so that in case of emergency the resident can speak from any part of the unit, even in bed, and be heard by the Sister in Charge through an open line. Ultimately the first stage cost $300,000 donated by the public of New South Wales and subsidised by the Commonwealth Government in terms of the sheltered employment assistance. The initial residents were a group of nine people, three in wheelchairs, two of them paraplegics following Polio and the other with multiple sclerosis. Others included patients suffering from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and conditions that have either impaired locomotion or restricted activity.

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1968 was dominated by the establishment of the new Cherrywood Village at Llandilo and continuing development of the Sheltered Workshop model. During the year the Lions Club of Fairfield were responsible for the Sheltered Workshop project in Canley Vale amounting to the provision of ground valued at $12,000 (thanks also extended to Fairfield Council for making the ground available) and a total value of $33,000. To this day Canley Vale is one of the most critical sites to Afford.

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Balance Sheet - 1968

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Income & Expenditure - 1968

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One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!

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In 1969 the Foundation’s focus had moved very much to a more generalist support of people with disabilities with a particular focus on victims of motor car accidents. In 1969 1,000 people died in New South Wales in road accidents with another 30,000 injured. Today only 400 people die each year in motor vehicle accidents in New South Wales despite the population doubling. In short, the number of road deaths per hundred thousand population was 28.9 in 1969 versus four 4.9 in 2017! Further in 1969 only 2 million vehicles were registered in New South Wales versus 6 million in 2017. 1969 also saw the arrival of a new President, Lawrence Heaney. As the 1960s drew to a close the new President pointed to the steady decline of the number of Foundation branches and auxillaries. Some branches including St George, Nepean, Manly and Wollongong performed strongly and continued to grow. Also the Foundation opened its third sheltered employment centre at Canley Vale (in addition to Bankstown and a small group at Cherrywood doing intricate electrical wiring). The Board also looked to create a sheltered workshop at Cherrywood Village with a view to making Cherrywood self-sufficient in a number of essential farm products. The Cherrywood Village fete proved to be a great financial success with the involvement of Cherrywood residents in the event. Fundraising, though, continued to provide a challenge with two new concepts being abandoned after making losses including a Real Estate Art Union. In 1969 the Newcastle branch open and its long awaited heated swimming pool at Valentine Croudace Bay on Lake McQuarrie. Sadly, and as a sign of the times, the Newcastle Ladies’ Auxillary was disbanded with remaining members joining a community Foundation. Also as a sign of the times the 1969 report included a message from the Minister for Decentralisation and Development. Companies such as Sara Lee moved to areas like the Central Coast at the time Cherrywood Village was obviously considered to be decentralised.

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1969 saw the adoption of a new logo www.afford.com.au

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1970’S 1970 saw a ‘new beginning’ with some financial strength returning to the organisation after deterioration in the mid to late 60s. Membership of the branches and associations growing again showed a renewed interest in the Foundation and this was backed by services being provided to many more people with disabilities in regional areas as well as Sydney.

In the country districts, the Foundation’s Branches assist the disabled in their respective areas, and at Valentina, in the Newcastle district, a heated swimming pool provides therapeutic benefit as well as general employment.” – 1971 Annual Report After such a strong result in 1970, 1971 saw a big reduction in Art Union income plunging the organisation into losses. Services and support to clients continued unaffected, but this meant the Foundation was relying on reserves.

The Foundation had seemingly also started to come of age in running sheltered workshops with employment maintained at high levels and a growing commercial approach in the acquisition and control of workshop contracts. Workshop revenues of $62,146 making a loss of only $1,961 was a fabulous result.

By 1972, the Annual Report referred to the eradication of Polio as a major disease. Hence The Foundation For Disabled expanded to help people suffering from other crippling disabilities, such as spinal injuries, brain damage, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteomyelitis, cerebral palsy, congenital deformities, amputations to name just a few.

Plans for much needed expansion of the Cherrywood workshop were well progressed with financial assistance for the extensions coming from the Apex Club of Penrith.

The Foundation helped the physically disabled people of New South Wales in many ways :

In 1971 the Foundation was 20 years old and had morphed into an organisation providing the following services: ● “ACCOMODATION: at a specially designed residential and occupational centre, Cherrywood Village, situated near Kingswood, approximately 30 miles from Sydney. ● EMPLOYMENT: at three Sheltered Workshops (Bankstown, Fairfield and Cherrywood Village) where disabled people supplement their pensions with gainful employment. ● WELFARE SERVICES: Home visiting and counselling is given by a trained Social Worker, and financial assistance in the provision of aids and appliances including wheelchairs, artificial limbs, crutches, surgical footwear and other orthopaedic aids. Welfare assistance is also carried out in the country by the Foundation’s Branches. ● RECREATION: In the Sydney Metropolitan area, a social Fellowship for

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the adult disabled is centred in the St. George district. Outings such as picnics, visits to the theatre and places of interest and monthly group meetings are arranged by the disabled – for the disabled.

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– by social welfare counselling in the home – by operating sheltered workshops where disabled people supplement their pensions with meaningful employment

– b  y providing mechanical and medical wear including wheelchairs, surgical footware, crutches, callipers and other orthopaedic aids – b  y offering accommodation in a specially designed residential and occupational centre for physical handicapped people – by providing financial assistance to help families support a disabled member in the home Continued financial pressures meant that the Foundation now carried a significant bank overdraft and during 1972 it was necessary to affect some quite severe retrenchments. This resulted in considerable savings in wages and other expenses, allowing a complete restructure of the organisation.


During the year a large extension to the Cherrywood Village workshop was completed.

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Also, a high profile addition to our patrons was The Right Hon. E. Gough Whitlam B.A. L.L.B. Q.C. who at the time was Prime Minister of Australia. He joined an impressive list that also included The Right Hon. Sir Garfield Barwick, G.C.M.G. B.A. L.L.B. Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia. A full list of patronage is provided in the 1970 Annual Report excerpt. At the beginning of 1972 a new administrator was appointed, Mr H A. Arthurs. The principles that still guide us today were increasingly evident in the 1972 report where, like many organisations, the Foundation could not meet the needs of the vast number of people requiring support. It would still be 45 years until the NDIS would roll out and give people with disability a true opportunity to establish themselves as rightful members of society irrespective of their disability. In 1972, supported employment offered two basic principles – the need for real ability and work conditioning for disabled people who will arrive and eventually re-enter open employment; and a job for those much more seriously affected who will never be able to return but nevertheless can still retain a degree of usefulness with their limited work abilities. In 1972 there were more than 413,000 people in New South Wales who were inactive or were limited by chronic handicap, and there were 62,000 people in New South Wales on invalid pension costing the nation more than $1 million a year in payments and medical services. It was estimated at the time that if these people were trying and placed in useful employment, a net gain of more than $3 million could be added to the nation’s output. In 1972 it was clear that we were still an organisation focused on supporting the physically disabled with the experience and expertise we had gained through supporting Polios sufferers in our first 20 years of operation. www.afford.com.au

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After July 1974: the metric system of measurement was introduced on all Australian roads and throughout the transport system. www.afford.com.au

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In 1973 the focuses were on the sheltered workshop’s and Cherrywood Village. The sheltered workshop provided services to Companies like 3M Australia and Selleys Chemicals who we still support in 2018. Notably however we benefited from the work sent to us by compwanies who have long since moved production offshore including Hoover, Metters, General Electric, Tonka, Hunter Douglas, Chiswell Furniture, Dexion and so on. 1973 saw the Registered Office moved from the city location of the Hobbs era to Bankstown.

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Victoria was first in the ‘western’ world to introduce legislation for compulsory wearing of seat belts in the 70’s halving the road toll.

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Sadly 1974 saw the retirement of President Mr Lawrence Heaney due to ill health with Mr K McQueeney taking over as President. 1974 also saw the arrival of Dr Malcolm Borland appointed to the Board on 15 August 1974. There were also 4 other new Board members appointed. The Registered Office moved again, this time to Llandilo. In 1974 some interesting statistics showed that our Cherrywood sheltered workshop employed 40 employees with disabilities and 13 able-bodied workers, Padstow employed 10 disabled workers and five able-bodied and Canley Vale employed 37 disabled and five able bodied. The 1974 report showed plans for an extremely large, 297.6 m2, of extra working space for the Cherrywood disabled workshop along with a new administration building. Dr M.J.D. Borland M.D. B.S. was appointed President, a position he was to hold for over 40 years, the longest standing Presidency of a Not for Profit in Australian history. Outgoing President Mr K McQueeney retired on 22 January 1976 and the newly recognised role of CEO was filled by Mr F.A .White. The Annual Report was for 15 months ended March 1976 moving to a March year end and reporting a healthy profit of $56,036 for the period. The 1976/77 President’s Report began with the sad news of the accidental death of new Director, Mr Don Reay. Mr Lawrence Heaney also returned as a Director. The extensions to the Sheltered Workshop at Llandilo were completed along with a new bus thanks to the generosity of the Penrith Leagues Club donating $20,000. Further the Department of Corrective Services Emu Plains Training Centre expended some 11,000 man hours establishing a vegetable garden, erection of a poultry run and beautification of the grounds at Cherrywood. The basic planning of the sports oval was also finalised with completion expected in 1978. For the 12 months ended March 1977 the Foundation generated Income of $292,969 and made an Operating Profit of $19,581.

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1977 saw the organisation struggling with significant hardship due to economic hardship within the community generally and in manufacturing industries particularly. A small extension to the buildings was completed and the construction of the sports oval was to commence on 29 May with work to be done by the school of military engineering. The introduction of glass and can recycling proved to be profitable. During the year the Foundation took over Feeney Electronics and successfully negotiated the purchase of equipment from Bonds Industries Ltd for the manufacture and refurnishing of yarn spools for spinning mills. In 1977 the CEO was a Mr F A White whose focus was dominated by the performance of the sheltered workshops. Echoing our experience today, his report lamented the loss of 1/3 of the total revenue at Llandilo due to the closedown of the national electronic contract on 31 March 1978, and the loss of Tonka products distribution which was undertaken by the parent company. The collapse of Australian manufacturing had begun. Further fundraising revenues continued to be depressed and new world problems were becoming apparent with increases in Workers’ Compensation and general insurance costs. Also, interestingly, the organisation commenced paying superannuation at a cost of $10,000 in year one and introduced a computerised pay system. Capital expenditure for the year was $96,500 worth of plant, equipment, buildings and motor vehicles. Funds donated by Penrith Leagues Club were used to buy a further 22 seater bus.


Despite increased global automisation, assembly and manufacturing of parts for the electrical industry remain a important component of the work undertaken by the Foundation at Llandilo. www.afford.com.au

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In 1978 the earthworks on the oval at Cherrywood were completed, the oval and banks were grassed and the tar sealed track was laid. To mark the historical occasion the inaugural event held was the first 100 mile race run in Australia. During the year Board member Noel Robinson stood down to be replaced by local sports personality Ian Maurice (later a television personality). The financial result for the year ended March 1979 was a cash surplus of $5,915 in spite of extremely tight economic conditions in the manufacturing sector. During 1979 2 directors left the organisation, Ian Maurice and Nereo Fabrello being replaced by Mr Jeff Solomon. The decade finished with the Foundation well defined in terms of offerings and commercial focuses, but at the same time very strained with a tough environment with regard to manufacturing customers and fundraising opportunities.

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Resurgence-1980’S The 1980s started with a resurgence in profitability as the organisation weathered the ever more difficult manufacturing sector with Sheltered Workshop contracts being taken back in-house or going overseas. Sir Roden Cutler retired from his role as Patron-In-Chief after many years’ service to the Foundation. 1981 was the Year of the Disabled, and the Board & Executive team strove to make it a year of great success in the face of adversity as they undertook a program to rationalise future expenditure, stimulate methods and areas of market advertising and generally prepare the Foundation to accept and successfully meet the challenges of an extremely competitive industrial world. After 7 years as CEO Frank White retired and Keith McGill joined the organisation. Further, the Board saw 3 new Directors join, Mr Don Keyssecher, Mr Simon Roberts and Major Doug Sadler RL with the retirement of Mr Don Wallis after six years on the Board. Unfortunately in 1981 industrial disputes throughout the year and the ever increasing difficulty to acquire certain types of work for the more physically handicapped forced the Foundation to carry out a comprehensive reappraisal of its workshop activities. Another large client took their production offshore, a signal of things to come, and in these lean times supported employees were taken on outings to the Blue Mountains, Bilpin and more. A further complicating issue was the large stocks of components necessary to make the 2 main products, Computalites and Moonglo Light Dimmers using $60,000 of working capital. As a result of this the organisation suffered a large Operating Loss of $120,391 after starting the decade with a promising surplus of $41,863 in 1980. 102

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In 1981 the Auditors were Bowie Wilson & Miles from their Cronulla office and they had been since 1977. Later to be CEO, Steven Herald did work experience with them at their 1 York Street premises in 1981. Small world. Under Keith’s leadership the organisation bounced back to a significant profit of $59,370 in 1982. This was on the back of consistent performance across the Sheltered Workshops with each being profitable or making a marginal loss. The number of workshops had been reduced from previous years to 3 – the original at Padstow, the 2nd at Canley Vale and the main factory on Cherrywood property at Llandilo. The performance of the factories can be seen in the table. Our customers in 1982 were: ● Fibremakers Ltd.

● G  overnment Stores

● Crane Taps Ltd.

● B  ristol Myers Co. Pty. Ltd

● Hilti (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.

● A  idex Industries Pty. Ltd.

● D  epartment of Administrative Services

● T  onka Corp. Pty. Ltd.

● Selleys Chemical Co.

● E  sselte Dymo Pty. Ltd.

● D  aikin Aust. Pty. Ltd.


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During the year the organisation made a large investment in sewerage system at Cherrywood at a cost of $17,545, and this still serves us today with negotiations in 2019 with Penrith Council to continue its compliance. Also during the year 2 new Directors joined the organisation including Mr Frank Blackwell who went on to serve the organisation as a Director for many years. Also joining as a Director was Mr Clive Warren-Smith, and retiring from the organisation were Mr G E Bryant and Mr W H Buhler who both served on the Board for seven years. The Foundation at this stage had settled with 3 key components: (1) S  heltered Workshops (2) R  esidential facility at Cherrywood accommodating 40 clients (3) C  herrywood Art Union In 1983 CEO, Keith, pushed the results even higher logging profit of $152,315 from Revenue of only $1,286,505, with all Sheltered Workshops making a profit.

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The 1980s started with a resurgence in profitability as the organisation weathered the ever more difficult manufacturing sector with Sheltered Workshop contracts being taken back in-house or going overseas.

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A major refurbishment program was completed at Cherrywood including the laying of new carpet. Cherrywood nurseries commenced in 1982 and a year later the creation of a full-time position for an experienced nurseryman was being considered. Numerous fundraising opportunities occurred during the year including the ongoing Art Union and special appeals which netted a $33,000 surplus, various donations from Rotary Club of Guildford, NestlÊ Australia and Richmond Race Club, and the 133 Signal Squadron Marathon Run from Port Stephens to the City of Penrith. The Foundation received a grant of $120,000 to undertake a $146,000 project at Cherrywood to create employment opportunities in the locality, build changing rooms and showers at the sports Oval, and surrounding spectator’s areas, establish an independent daily living training centre and laying concrete entrance way to the Llandilo workshop.

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New carpet being layed in rooms as part of the refurbishing program at Cherrywood. www.afford.com.au

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1984 was a year of consolidation after the big turnaround in 1983. During the year a change of government took place and with that the launch of the Handicapped Programs Review. In addition, ACROD (The Australian Council for Rehabilitation of the Disabled) launched a pilot Workshop Accreditation Scheme in NSW, and as with many initiates in our sector we were heavily involved, our Llandilo and Padstow workshops were 2 of the 12 workshops taking part in the programs. Also in the 1984 Annual Report, Neville Barnier was listed as a Director and he would go on to not only serve as a Director for 34 years but be Chairman for 3 of those from 2014 to 2017. Also joining the Board was another long standing Board member, Mr Leo Armstrong who at the time was Chairman of Penrith Leagues Club and an ex banker with Commonwealth Bank. Leaving the Board during the year were Mr WG Cowley who had served on the Board for 10 years and Mr D Keyssecker.

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In 1984 the Foundation opened a new Training Assessment Centre. Above shows Minister for Police and Corrective Services, Peter Anderson MP, Rehabilitation Manager, Mr. W. Staples and the Foundation’s President, Dr. M. Borland. www.afford.com.au

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The Foundation has encouraged independent living in the community for many years and purchased this home for clients in 1985, located in Penrith. www.afford.com.au

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A world of challenged views and progress. 120

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In the mid-1980s we welcomed some new customers to our Sheltered Workshops including Ciba Geigy Aust Ltd, Hilti (Aust) Ltd, Chiswell Pty Ltd, Rheem Aust Pty Ltd, Readers Digest Assoc Pty Ltd, David Jones Aust Pty Ltd, Telecom and HPM Industries Pty Ltd. The 133 Squadron again undertook a marathon run from Port Stephens to the City of Penrith raising $900. In 1985 the Foundation purchased a house in Penrith as part of its independent living in the community program. This followed the Richmond Report in 1984. For 8 years the Foundation had already assisted employees who wanted to live independently of either parents or hostels over an 8 year period, helping them to move into rented “Half way houses”. Based on security issues the Board approved the purchase of a Community House in South Penrith to accommodate a number of disabled employees. Due to the ongoing prosperity there was also further capex to build new canteen facilities at Padstow, 2 new buses for Llandilo and a 1.6 tonne lorry for use at the Llandilo workshop. The new training assessment centre was opened in 1985 by the Hon Peter Anderson MP Minister for Police and Corrective Services. This was funded by a $140,000 Grant that also funded the completion of the Sports Oval. The Sports Oval was opened by the Hon Bob Debus, Minister for Employment & Finance and Ross Free, Federal Minister for Lindsay. Further, the Penrith Apex Club, of which Board member Neville Barnier was a member, adopted a new project of the Cherrywood Apex Park. Sadly, on Friday night, 3rd May, 1985, at approximately 9:00pm, a fire was detected in the Llandilo workshops. A statement from the Foundation’s CEO, Keith McCgill, appears on the right.

FIRE AT LLANDILO WORKSHOP, CHERRYWOOD

“On Friday night, 3rd May, 1985, at approximately 9:00pm, a fire was detected in the Llandilo workshops. Inspite of the efforts eight Volunteer Bush Brigade Units and three NSW Fire Brigade Units, the workshops were totally destroyed. Fortunately no one was injured. The buildings, machinery, etc., were of course insured but this causes considerable disruption to the services provided for disabled employees at this location. Attempts are being made to find temporary premises in the Penrith, St. Marys area and meantime we are operating from the Rehabilitation Training Assessment Centre and the Recreation Hall which have been converted to temporary workshop facilities. At the time of writing this report, discussions are still being held with insurance assessors, architects, the Department of Community Services and other organisations to complete plans for rebuilding and/ or relocating the workshop. Special fund raising events are being mounted to help raise monies to rebuild the facility and an appeal is being launched to the business community to assist with temporary workshop accommodation and contract work.”

J. Keith McGill Chief Executive

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In 1986 following lengthy discussion with our insurers we moved the Workshop at Llandilo to an industrial estate in Penrith after 5 interim moves including the Recreation Hall at Cherrywood, Emu Plains Industrial Estate, and St Marys which was extremely challenging for Factory Manager, Bill Tosh, and his team. During the year a new manager was also appointed at Padstow, Lammert Knight, and Bob Young continued at Canley Vale.

Aftermath Cherrywood Fire www.afford.com.au

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A new workshop was established in Dean Place Penrith which employed disabled employees preparing lunches and packaging jellies. During the year the Foundation increased its involvement with TAFE with a growing number of employees attending night school. During the year the Department of Community Services issued a new basic philosophy under the title of “New Directions”.

In 1986 the Sports Oval was in full flight was thriving with the soccer club established under the name of Cherrywood Soccer Club and there were five teams established, playing in their own grade. Looking forward, the Board was looking to rapidly expand services into the Hawkesbury Shire area to establish a new form of training program for disabled. It was to be located in the town of Richmond and the program will have a strong rural bias. Very intensive training would be provided with the staffing level ratio of 1 to 5 disabled persons and the activities are planned to embrace enclave employment on farms and market gardens in the Hawkesbury Shire, garden and lawn maintenance, office and shop cleaning and a new venture of a coffee shop which will run on strictly commercial lines within the main centre of Richmond.

In 1987 the trading statement for our workshops trading as FODI Industries recorded a loss before Subsidy of $200,000. The result was impacted by lower sales and the expansion costs of moving into the Hawkesbury supported employment program. Planned investment of $45,000 to establish a controlled environment food packaging room enabling us to expand our business in this sector of the market. Panthers were donating $5,000 each year to the costs of this project. The Smithfield branch made significant losses providing employment in the manufacture of furniture and lounge suite frames without the assistance of the Department of Community Services. An application was lodged with the Department of Community Services for financial support. The Padstow workshop increased income by 40% to be bursting at the seams but profit margins deteriorated badly to the result for the year. In the Hawkesbury region work crews commenced services in garden and maintenance and commercial cleaning that require significant support. The organisation depended heavily on fundraising with union income of $220,000 along with various other activities including Cherrywood Fete raising a further total of $74,000, The Cherrywood Players again worked tirelessly during you staging of productions ‘Running Riot’ and ‘Beyond A Joke’ presenting in theatre restaurant as a form of fundraising activity for Cherrywood. The new Disability Services Act highlighted the very substantial increase in funding requirements needed to meet the increased staffing levels proposed for the new programs described under this Act. The Department of Community Services stated that the funds will be available and that these will largely come from capital normally set aside for new workshops, new equipment and money saved on those people with disability securing competitive employment and ceasing to draw a pension. Sound familiar?

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In September 1986 a two day forward planning session was held at Parramatta when staff and employees were given the opportunity to plan the direction of The Foundation for Disabled into the 1990s. The session produced a five year plan submitted to the Department of Community Services. The Foundation showed a very strong result for the year with a surplus of $168,503 further augmented by a grant from the Community Employment Program of $65,206 and insurance recovery of $596,981 moving the Foundation’s Equity past $1million! Since Keith McGill joined the organisation 5 years before, the Foundation had generated over $700,000 in surpluses after losing $120,000 the year before he joined.

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The 1987 Annual Report saw longstanding Board member, Mario Bellantonio, join the Board and the name FODI Industries appear for the first time – the name for the Supported Employment arm of the business.

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The Hawkesbury Work Option program was announced with the first 2 parts commencing – Farm & Garden Maintenance Work and Commercial Cleaning. The third activity, a commercial coffee shop had not yet commenced though the location, Bowman’s Cottage, was known and the estimated opening date was September 1987.

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1988 was the Australian Bicentenary and the first year in the five year plan that outlines how The Foundation for Disabled would navigate the new world of the Disability Services Act. The Planning Sessions that had been held produced a 5 Year Plan – 1987-1992 and highlighted the inadequacy of government support financially to support the broader range of services proposed by the government. This pitted not only the Board and Executive against the Department of Community Services, but also the other service providers in the sector looking at the changing world. “New Directions“ was the Report resulting from the Handicapped Programs Review and the new Disability Services Act followed. At this point was a fork in the road where we committed to Vocational Training as opposed to the path taken by NSW Society for Crippled Children who moved towards specialisation in services for children with a physical disability. Discussions were subsequently held with Department of Community Services and agreement reached to merge Branches of NSWSCC subsidiary Hability Industries in Surry Hills and Minto. This took place in September 1987 and in the following months the Foundation was providing Vocational and Rehabilitation services to some 300 persons. The Foundation became The Foundation For The Disabled (Incorporating FODI Industries). Equity now passed $2million and all factories including the 2 new ones in Surry Hills and Minto were viable, but after Overheads the organisation made its first loss in many years (1981) losing $30,236 (1981) losing $30,236.

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In 1989 the Australian Foundation for Disabled also included FODI Industries and Bowman Enterprises. Bowman Enterprises was a cottage tea room in Richmond which opened for business in May 1989. A replica of the original Bowman flag which was designed to celebrate the victory of the Royal Navy at the battle of Trafalgar and is believed to be the first flag designed in Australia. Bowman cottage was built in 1817 and was the residence of the first mayor of Richmond, George Bowman.

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The 1989 Annual Report showed that Income had moved past $3million, and Mr & Mrs Tost had provided $153,000 in their will which was to be used to buy the Minto factory. The new regulations meant that the organisation was preparing to transition services and looking at possibilities with regards to some potential new areas like housing under the Guidelines for the Residential Services under the Act. Indeed the Board put aside $175,000 to assist with the potential purchase of additional houses provided support was received from the Department of Community Services & Housing. The decade ended with a fair deal of uncertainty but with a very strong tailwind after logging the biggest surplus ever for the Foundation of $426,412. www.afford.com.au

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1990’S

1990 saw the completion of the John Sutherland Centre in Penrith with the significant involvement of a number of the Foundation’s Board members, past and present. The decade began with an outstanding result recording an Operating profit of $483,976. This was assisted by the acquisition of the Sheltered Workshop of the Royal Blind Society, trading as Mitchell Manufacturing effective 1 January 1990. The Foundation’s commitment to new supports under the Disability Services Act and the likely depletion of reserves meant that the future of supported employment programs like Bowman Enterprises were in doubt. As the Transition date of June 1992 drew nearer the Foundation’s lobbying of Government along with peak bodies like ACROD were increasing. Further, the management team was restructured with 3 main streams as follows: Manager, Factories & Supported Employment Services - Don Smithers Manager, Financial & Residential Services - Geoff Bowden Manager, Training & Rehabilitation Services - Bill Staples

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Above: Supported Employees manufacture ‘Aussie Hangers’ at Mitchell Manufacturing. 138

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The substantial legacy from the late Mr and Mrs Toss was used to purchase the Minto premises which the Foundation occupied. These funds combined with reserves saw an aggressive investment program proposed which included purchase of the Minto premises for $143,000, provision of residential accommodation for $175,000 and the contribution to the premises for Mitchell Manufacturing of $300,000 giving a total capital expenditure of $618,000. At this point the financial viability of new programs under the Disability Services Act were poor in spite of the unquestioned benefits which people with disabilities derived from participation in new programs such as the Bowman cottage tea rooms. As the timeframe for transition to new services of June 1992 came closer intense lobbying occurred as major concerns for financial viability were held by the Board. Canley Vale made a surplus of $45,000 packaging aerosol products and specialist packaging, Enfield, the newest factory operating as Mitchell Manufacturing based at the Royal Blind Society headquarters made a surplus of $94,000. Our Marrickville factory generated sales of $364,000 reporting a surplus of $66,000 which included operations of the Padstow factory which were merged into this branch. Minto specialised in the sale of wood products, bedroom furniture, specialist cases and pallets, and with sales of 384,000 generated a surplus of $49,000. Penrith had the highest Revenue of all factories at $439,000 and generated a surplus of $39,000. In February 1991 the Department of Health, Housing & Community Services issued a set of standards entitled “Minimum Outcomes� which were introduced across all facilities. The standards required that organisations funded to provide a service to people with disabilities have the standards in place by August 1991 demonstrating a commitment to the principles and objectives of the Disability Services Act for continued funding. The requirement was to develop formal written policies and procedures in conjunction with consumers advocates and staff to achieve five minimum outcome standards (i)

a grievance mechanism without fear of retribution

(ii)

privacy safeguards

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(iii)

support of the participation in decision-making and choice

(iv)

planned approach to meeting individual needs and goals

(v)

employment conditions equivalent to those enjoyed by the general workforce.

Developments like this were absolutely pivotal in the ongoing reshaping of the way society treated people with disability and the quality of life they enjoyed.


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Senior Management at their Weekly Planning Meeting. From Left: Bill Staples, Keith McGill, Don Smithers and Geoff Bowden

Manufacture of skirt hangers by visually impaired employees

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1991 was a very strong year for the Foundation with key achievements being that it: – provided training/vocational programs and accommodation services to over 450 people with disabilities – increased total revenue to record level of $5.2 million – generated record sales income from vocational training services of $2.7 million – had the highest surplus in its history of $519,000 In spite of such a ground breaking year the outlook was bleak with supported industries starting the new year with its lowest order position in memory. The planned investment in residential services of $175,000 the previous year had not occurred. However funds were used in relocating Mitchell Manufacturing from the Royal Blind Society in January 1990 to a new factory in Bankstown at a cost of $380,000. Funding to complete the purchase of the Bankstown premises over five year period has been secured from the Department of Community Services and Health.

Implementation of travel arrangements have improved at Bankstown with the majority of employees who are blind/visually impaired now utilising existing train and bus facilities. The President outlined considerable concerns of the ability of the Department of Community Services and Health to adequately fund the new programs outlined in the Disability Services Act through the transition process. The economic situation at the time combined with inadequate funding was such that considerable reservations were held over the ability to finance the pace of change throughout the next 18 months. The new Bankstown factory acquired from the Royal Blind Society generated sales of an incredible $1.08 million from the premises at Warren Avenue Bankstown. Operations at this facility consisted mainly of the manufacture of skirt hangers by visually impaired employees. Minto factory by now was manufacturing large amounts of wood products including pallets, bedframes and specialist cases to the value of about $250,000 per year.

Department of Community Services and Health conducted service reviews during the year. These were designed to compare the present outcomes of the organisation with the principles and objectives of the Act using the guidelines provided. These meetings were to occur before the end of June 1991 with the organisation having previously submitted transaction plans for all of the organisation’s services, and the reviews assisted in determining what changes should be made to these. Transition plans for Bankstown and all factories contain proposals to improve migration of the service and employees with disabilities through: – locating to a more appropriate industrial site – reducing the size of the facility through the establishment of new small businesses – reducing the number of employees with disability into secure jobs and competitive employment – engage co-workers who are not disabled www.afford.com.au

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Accountants Office

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The 1992 year continued the very comfortable trend for the organisation with further revenue growth from $5,200,000 to $5,500,000. At this point government subsidies expressed as a percentage of total income were 26% increasing from the previous year at 25%. (In 2019 they are 65% of revenue of our factories with the dearth of work left in Australia in the Chinese century). Interestingly supported employees in 1992 averaged $44.90 per week in wages combined with the Disability Pension which provided an average income of $229.40 per week (in 2019 wages combined with DSP total approximately $450 per week). The Foundation entered into discussions with the FMWU having received a log of claims from the union during the latter part of the year. The major outcomes would be a minimum wage of $42.50 for disabled employees, to be productivity based, and entry into an occupational superannuation scheme. It was anticipated that negotiations would be completed later in 1992. All of the Foundation’s facilities participated in service reviews during 1992 and were preparing for the next stage – achieving minimum outcomes. These minimum outcomes were to be determined by staff from the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services and involve meetings with employees with disabilities, employee committees, management and staff. Looking forward, the plan was to establish a new supported employment service located near Liverpool with the support of the department – which later moved to our current Ingleburn premises. In 1992 the Finance Department was located at Cherrywood where they produced monthly financial statements, payment of salaries and wages for over 400 employees with disabilities and staff, and so forth. This is where all the cool people worked. During the year new computer hardware was installed with upgraded operating systems which were delivering a modern data-processing environment for the team.

For many years a variety of committees were coordinated by Lauris Biggs. Lauris was a member of the Foundation’s management committee and attended meetings of the Board each year to report on events such as the annual ACROD conference and annual forward planning meetings. She was chairperson of all employee committees and in 1992 the Cherrywood employee committee also included Susie Horner. Fundraising in 1992 generated $590,000 and after expenses of $335,000 generated by funding surplus of $255,000 – quite amazing for the time considering in 2019 we will generate a net fundraising surplus of $350,000. Of note was that during 1992 a social educator was appointed at Cherrywood Village whose duties included training residents in: (i)

their rights and responsibilities

(ii)

policy and procedure

(iii)

developing and revising individual program plans which are designed to prepare residents for living in the community

In 1993 the patrons of the foundation included the Right Honourable Sir Garfield Barwick and the Honourable John Johnson, former President of the Legislative Council of New South Wales. 1993 was as very a difficult year financially as the minimum wage paid to employees with disability would greatly increase striving to reach the figure proposed by the Department of Health, Housing and Community Services and the trade union. Further the persistence and depth of the recession further exacerbated matters limiting the increase in total income for the year. In spite of this the Foundation made significant capital investments totalling $765,000 with the purchase of: – sophisticated machinery for Fodi engineering services Liverpool – purchase of another community house in Penrith – the acquisition of ING manufacturing cotton wheels which will be merged with Fodi Industries Bankstown.

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Interestingly the split of income for the year was $9 million income from factories and supported employment services, fundraising at $560,000 and government support through grants and Department of Health, Housing & Community Services $1.6 million dollars. Government grants grew again as a percentage of revenue increasing to 30%. Average wages paid to employees with disabilities rose significantly to $46.90 while their pension average rose to $236 per week. Negotiations with the FMWU, now the Liquor Hospitality Miscellaneous Workers Union resulted in: – minimum wages – these were targeted at $42.50 per week which rose significantly to $46.90 while the pension average rose to $236 per week - negotiated to be implemented over a three-year period from the effective date of agreement – entry into the occupational superannuation scheme phased in over three years – wage banding all grades – a hearing before Justice MacBean at the Industrial Commission where it recorded our concerns. As for other aspects including occupational super the Foundation met Award requirements or offered benefits in excess of these. In 1993 a new set of disability service standards was produced by the Commonwealth which included 11 national standards: (i)

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(ii)

individual needs

(iii)

decision-making and choice

(iv)

privacy dignity and confidentiality

(v)

participating in integration

(vi)

valued status

(vii)

complaints and disputes

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(ix)

employment conditions

(x)

employment support

(xi)

employment skills development.

The Commonwealth State Disability Agreement (CSDA) was planned to take effect on 1 July 1993. This was to involve the devolution of residential services from Commonwealth funded to a state funded operation. Moneys presently allocated by the Federal government through the DHHCS to service providers is being transferred to each state on individually negotiated agreements. This announcement followed the international trends of deinstitutionalisation from large residential “Rain Man” type institutions with the progression towards Group Homes in the community and/or independent living models. Focuses during the year followed on from the minimum outcome as required of all funded disability services with a strong focus on policies and procedures. National standards were in place from 1 March 1993 and the 11 national standards contained 101 supporting standards requiring a comprehensive rewrite of the Foundations policies and procedures. Lotteries, as it was called in 1993, continued to perform strongly showing a 7% increase with special events income increasing by a further 15%. The bequest legacies used to form a significant part of the foundations income and although 25% lower for the year still accounted for 30% of the fundraising total – approximately $150,000. We no longer attract much in the way of legacies. 1993/1994 saw general improvement of the economic conditions in Australia, and this recovery along with the stellar performance of Fodi Industries Bankstown (coat hangers) saw total revenue growth of 13.8% to $6.4 million. Factory revenue for the year was $3,500,000, fundraising $580,000, Federal government funding $1.48 million, Rental from residential services $278,000 and state government funding. During the year Bill Staples retired as manager of Fodi Industries after many years successfully guiding the factories. While economic circumstances had improved greatly, costs increased


markedly across the business with the substantial raft of compliance issues that the previous few year’s developments had brought. During 1994 the organisation was holding 14 major committee meetings every month throughout the six facilities to help ensure compliance with the national standards. Clearly this had significant implications for the cost structure of the business and production time lost.

One area of the business flailing was the Hawkesbury work option program established in 1986 encompassing Bowman tea rooms and work crews providing garden maintenance and cleaning services. The services struggled with the high percentage of able-bodied staff to remain viable as this still the case in 2019 with such services, now called social enterprises. So in spite of significant growth of revenue operating surplus was a reduced $175,000 significantly below budget on the previous year Fundraising continued to be an area of success with supporters helping many of the residents at Cherrywood to refurbish and renovate the living rooms, TV lounge room, the pool was being upgraded and a safety fence installed. Funds were also being raised to create a new Learning Centre for the blind and visually impaired people in Bankstown. The 1996 Annual Report showed a very healthy Operating Profit of $611,699 after climbing back to $445,145 in 1995 after results had dipped markedly with the transition to the Disability Services Act in 1993/94. Across the business was success with even the Bowman Tea rooms performing well while a few years earlier their future had been in doubt. Income in 1996 grew by 4% to $7,456,000. Further, the Board and Executive had completed a 5 year plan titled “Beyond 2000” with the challenges of significant changes to service delivery dealt with in detail. Further, the Transition Plan for Cherrywood Hostel to the Department of Community Services was completed. A separate five year Strategic Plan was also completed for FODI Industries and Bowman Enterprises, and FODI Enterprises achieved Quality Accreditation.

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Pictured left: Clients of the Post School Options Program taking part in travel training in 1997.

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The 1997 Annual Report saw the commencement of Day Option Programs and Post School Options under the broader range of programs under the Disability Services Act. The majority of our Client Services programs in 2019 had their roots in this period with others including Independent Living Skills and pre Vocational skills. In the background, the deinstitutionalisation of many residents from Large Residential facilities across Australia and throughout the world was starting to gather pace. Along with this was the advent of the Community Visitor Programme which still operates to this day, in 2019 by the NSW State Ombudsman’s Office. In such a time of turmoil the Foundation still grew services and support to people with disabilities and hence revenue, along with significant surpluses in 1997 approaching $1mil with a surplus of $817,768. The surpluses that had been achieved throughout the 1980s and 1990s gave the Foundation a solid foundation, reinvested primarily in Property, Plant & Equipment – in 1997 to a value of $6,700,000.

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Director Douglas Sadler (left) receiving Certificate to mark 20 years Service from Chairman Malcom Borland

Board Management at Strategic Planning Review

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J.Keith McGill, Chief Executive Officer

Board Management at Strategic Planning Review

Malcom Borland, Chairman


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As the 20th century came to a close there was significant change occurring as we moved into the 21st century. Under the leadership of Keith McGill overseen by an intimidating Board lead by Dr Malcolm Borland over a few decades the organisation was in an incredibly strong and secure position, an enormous credit to all involved given the continual challenges they faced. After almost 2 decades at the helm CEO Keith McGill retired leaving behind a great legacy, with the organisation generating revenue of over $10mil and Equity of just under $10 million. The organisation also moved into its new Head Office at 10-12 Marieanne Place, a property that would serve the organisation well for the coming 15 years. It was also time to rebrand, adopting the new name AFFORD, an acronym for the Australian Foundation For Disability. Onwards to the 21st century!

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A New era -2000’S The Australian Foundation For Disability (AFFORD) entered the 21st-century with a new name, logo, head office and CEO. Along with the new branding came a new mission statement, vision and core values. Further, John Reed had joined the Board as a Director in 1999 and would remain on the board until 2016.

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Afford launched into the 21st Century recharged with a new name, logo and CEO. Alongside the rebranding came our organisational refocus under new mission statement, vision and core values. 162

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President - MALCOLM BORLAND

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CEO - TIM WALTON


Tim Walton, the new CEO, quickly put his stamp on Afford with a new plan agreed for 2000- 2005 setting ambitious targets which in year one of the plan were achieved with a new organisation structure in place. Changes that occurred quickly positively impacting the business were the move of the Penrith factory operations to the new Minchinbury head office, the investment in the new business of pallet manufacturer for the main Minto factory, and the Ashfield & Canley Vale sites being refurbished and used for Day Programs. The latter two sites were ideally located to respond to increasing demand for quality Day Options and the sensory rooms & gardens specially designed kitchen at Canley Vale set a new standard for Day Programs in the Sydney metropolitan area. Today we are the premier Day Programs provider in Sydney with these services representing almost 50% of our business and surpluses. The commercial environment in Australia presented some challenges for the business as well with changes to the insurance industry, new WorkCover legislation and occupational health and safety regulations. 2001 saw a new Patron in Chief with her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AD CVO Governor of New South Wales appointed to the role.

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In 2000 the new Minchinbury Head Office was opened. www.afford.com.au

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The 2001 report also saw the adoption of a June 30 year end and the operating surplus for the business for the period to June 30, 2001 was a surplus of $723,955. Contributing to this result was funding received from the Department of Ageing Disability and Homecare. Funding for Day Programs and Accommodation services was received from the state Government and business services were federally funded. This funding structure would remain in place until the advent of the NDIS and many years later. 2002 marked the 50th anniversary of Afford growth to supporting 650 clients and development of Open Employment and Community Living programs. Like all significant Not for Profits in the sector, these were pivotal times that governed the trajectory over the next ten years. Afford had previously focussed on: (i) Sheltered Workshops/Factories employing workers with disabilities (ii) Cherrywood large residential facility at Cherrywood (iii) Lotteries/Raffles fundraising At this point, Afford put its focus on Day Programs and Vocational Outcomes meaning the main businesses added were: (iv) Day Programs (various names such as Community Programs – CP – Post School Options – PSO – Active Ageing etc.) (v) Adjuncts to Sheltered Workshops – most notably Transition To Work – TTW (vi) To a small extent Open Employment – in 2013 would become a material business after winning DES contracts for Bankstown, Fairfield, Blacktown, Liverpool and Campbelltown The trajectory mirrored Disability Services Australia (DSA) but others looked more to Group Homes than Vocational, or like DSA, did both.

Cherrywood would remain our only residential services until 2017, and Respite was very minor until 2017. Afford also continued their contribution to the evolution of disability care and support. Afford recognised that in the coming few years over 100 of its clients, due to the longer life spans people with disability were enjoying, would be retiring. In 2002 this meant that these people had an uncertain future and a report at the time from the National Industry Association for Disability stated that of the 6,000 Australians with disability aged less than 65 years 1,100 of them under 50 were already residing in age care nursing homes and hospitals. This lobbying would some years later lead to the Transition to Retirement program that Afford pioneered Starting in 2014 supporting 10 clients. In 2002 Fodi Bankstown produced the 40 millionth Afford coat hanger and the new national distribution contract with Woolworths with the addition of five new products. This included the establishment of import arrangements with suppliers in China. Afford would continue to supply Woolworths with its hangers until 2014 when Woolworths would bypass us and go straight to Chinese suppliers. During 2002 a new site was purchased at Minto to accommodate the pallet business acquired in 2001 scheduled to commence operations in April 2003. During the year Afford took the decision to close Afford Newcastle with operations and employees transferred to the Hunter region of the House With No Steps. In 2002 revenue increased by 22% to $15,700,000 and the operating surplus for the year was $651,808. Interestingly the contribution to cash flow from property investments was already over $1 million, Equity had now reached $14,846,563 and property plant and equipment was $22 million. During the year Afford operated six sheltered workshops and six day programs. 2003 saw a record profit for Afford of almost $1 million. Mr Greg Alchin joined the Board.

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An aerial image of Cherrywood. www.afford.com.au

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Afford invested in pallet manufacturing as a new social enterprise within the main Minto Factory.

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In 2005 Afford continued to invest in properties to be used for Day Programs with the purchase of Kings Park for $600,000, a site that today supports 100 clients. 178

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The Prestons factory in the early 2000s - still operational today. www.afford.com.au

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Chairman, Dr. Malcolm Borland (Board Member 30 Years)

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In 2004 Ross Fowler, who would later become Penrith Mayor and Chairman of Afford, joined the Board with the departure of Leo Armstrong after 21 years on the Board.

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Sensory room at Kings Park

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2004 saw a solid result of $574,162 during a time of steep growth with revenue nudging $20 million at $19,172,240. Much of the growth was in state funded Day Programs where Tim was establishing Afford as leaders in this area as we remain today. Importantly, we were now providing support to many more clients than when we focussed on Sheltered Workshops. In 2005 Afford continued to invest in properties to be used for Day Programs with the purchase of Kings Park for $600,000, a site that today supports 200 clients, and significant upgrades to Canley Vale, Ashfield and Lakemba Day Program centres. Given Afford’s long history as an employer of people with disabilities it quickly grasped opportunities in the new Transition to Work programs with 140 clients during the year being a 25% increase on the previous year. Afford also placed 60 clients in open employment and the number of supported employees in Afford packaging factories was now over 600, much the same as in 2019. The number of clients that Afford now supported was 900 and staff had grown to 200. Revenue for 2005 surpassed $20 million reaching $21,626,000 with an amazing operating surplus of $1,402,515. Afford performance at this time was indeed sector leading. During the year Mr Douglas Sadler retired from the Board after 25 years of service.

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2006 was another great year for Afford with clients over 1,000 and operating surplus of $1.5 million once again, plus an increase in the fair value of property investments of $1.7 million delivering an overall net surplus of a staggering $3,196,064. The accretion in value to the properties would be more than reversed in the global downturn of 2008 and subsequent years.

An Afford client on board the HMAS Kanimbla.

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In 2007 Fodi was riding a wave of success that had seen rapid growth evidenced by the adjacent map and planned expansion very similar to what we are targeting in 2019 namely centres in Holroyd, Parramatta, Ryde and Hurstville. Tim by now was investing significant time in national programs to further the interests of people with disability. The rapid growth however was starting to weigh down the financial results and Operating profit for the year fell 2/3 from the previous two years. Day Programs have significant Costs to Open, and clients numbers build slowly so a few sites like Chipping Norton and Jamisontown were now starting to hurt. In spite of this Afford now had total assets exceeding $50 million and net assets or equity was $30 million. 2008 saw the global financial crisis and this impacted the business through the diminution in value of each property portfolio with writedowns of $2.6 million which with an operating surplus of $1.05 million saw a net loss of $1.59 million for the year ended June 2009. Like its competitors Afford grappled with a number of new programs launched by the state government including Active Ageing ,Work Experience programs and Community Participation. This saw client numbers reach 1,200. Also during the year Afford purchased a Viking machine from its US supplier to significantly improve the productivity and product range of the pallet business at Minto, and this machine still is the workhorse of a business that now generates $7million worth of pallets per annum. The lottery call centre moved from its long time home at Cherrywood Village to Penrith, where it remains to this day, and this strengthened telesales significantly. During the year president, Dr Malcolm Borland was made a Member of the Order of Australia, and Alan Travers joined the board of Afford. 2009 saw the adoption of a new logo, vision, mission and values as the organisation primed itself for the new world ahead of the NDIS.

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A decade of Change & expansion-2010 2010 and beyond marks one of the most transformational periods in Afford’s history. It is during this period, Australia transitioned to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - the greatest reform to Australian Health Care since Medicare - and ventured into new territory under new leadership. 2010 saw an operating profit improvement to $1.2 million but the devaluation of the property portfolio by $1.4 million reduced that to a loss of $186,000 again with the last few years bringing equity down to $27 million. The CEO of AFFORD, Tim Walton, became the President of the National Disability Services (NDS) in 2010 and two years later chaired the ‘Every Australian Counts’ Campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which was also supported with significant financial contribution by Afford. During 2010-2013 Tim’s time was dominated by this work outside of Afford pursuing the higher calling of shaping the Disability Sector for the next 50 years. Indeed, Tim can lay claim to being the ‘father’ of the NDIS like some others including Bruce Bonyhady & Ken Baker.

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In 2011, at a Commonwealth level, there was bipartisan support for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with the report from the Productivity Commission being accepted and funding approved for the initial stage of implementation of this scheme. The NDIS promises to give greater choice and control to millions of people with disability. The result for 2011 was an operating surplus of $1.5 million but once again property write-downs of $955,000 reduced that to a net surplus of $540,000, profitable but disappointing for an organisation with the size and past history of Afford.

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In 2012 saw a similar operating surplus of $1.3mil but once again a significant property writedown of $2,100,000 delivering a net loss of $800,000. Afford incorporates a new marketing strategy that involves brand positioning of ‘A Leader in Disability Services’. The campaign was supported with billboard advertising, press, radio and the development of a new website. During 2012, the Transition to Retirement Program and DVD was launched by the Minister Honourable Andrew Constance MP and funding support achieved for program continuity from ADHC. Afford won an Australian Business Award for Innovation for the Transition to Retirement Program. Afford hosted six ‘Disabilities’ events attended by federal parliamentarians including Chris Hayes MP, David Bradbury MP, Laurie Ferguson MP, Ed Husic MP, Michelle Rowland MP and Louise Markus MP and the NSW Community Building Partnerships funding provided significant grant funds for equipment at AFFORD Liverpool, Windsor and Blacktown Day Programs. In early 2013, the Afford Board endorsed the establishment of a new business unit to place the organisation at the leading edge of the e-waste recycling business. Over $3 million was committed to secure warehouse space and to purchase the only purpose built Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) recycling machinery in Australia. The business, named EcycleIT, was the first social firm operated by Afford, employing equal numbers of disabled and able bodied workers to work the plant together. In 2013 the operating surplus halved as, amongst other things, Ecyclit commenced operations and logged significant losses. Sadly, around the same time, CEO, Tim was forced to take extended leave due to health issues with a few interim measures taken around the CEO role over the following years including Board member Mr Cliff Haynes stepping in as Acting CEO for a year from early 2014 onwards. 194

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A bright note in a difficult period was the winning of the tender for 5 areas of DES business (open employment) with a caseload of some 700 clients. This is a difficult business and the offices in Bankstown, Blacktown, Campbelltown, Fairfield and Liverpool had previously fallen short of 3 stars when under the control of Disability Services Australia. During 2014, Afford placed great focus on the up-skilling and development of its staff. The Board and Executive Team commenced a detailed strategic review of business operations in readiness for the introduction of the NDIS in 2015, albeit the rollout was ultimately delayed. 2014 saw another drop in Operating Surplus now down to $130,000, but now an asset revaluation upwards of $2,350,000 delivered a net surplus of $2,500,000. In a landmark project, the NSW Government provided $3.49 million to purchase land to begin the process of devolution for 40 Afford residents at Cherrywood Village. This would provide for purpose-built housing to be developed for independent living options for people with disability. This joint initiative between Afford and Department of Family and Community Services saw the purchase of six blocks of land at Thornton Estate and Warwick Street on the edge of the Penrith CBD and the building project officially launched by Minister for Disability Services, The Hon. John Ajaka MP on 19 May, 2014. A further $9 million was provided to build the purpose built SDA accommodation with Afford contributing a further $3 million.


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Another significant moment in Afford’s history happened in 2015 with the retirement of Dr Malcolm Boland OAM, after 40 years as Chairman. Dr Borland remains the longest serving Chairman of any Australian charity. Longstanding Board member Neville Barnier took on the Chairman role at the AGM in November 2014. 2015 saw a mixed result as there was improvement in the result with capital grants around the group homes brought to account, but Ecycleit was really weighing down performance, so an Operating profit of $1.1 million was recorded less a writedown on property of $920,000 seeing a net surplus of $200,000. With the imminent rollout of the NDIS, the organisation was ill prepared and modelling completed by consultants showed the rollout would have a negative impact on Afford of $2.5 million per annum which proved to be very accurate once transition occurred. By this point a firm decision was taken by the Board and management to exit the Ecycleit business with the remaining assets written off. The following year of 2015/16 would still carry $500,000 of rent for the Campbelltown premises leased specifically for the project. Unfortunately Afford took a few other large knocks with Woolworths exiting from the coat hanger contract that had been in place for 10 years with a sales value of $5 million per year, deciding to cut out the middle man and source direct from China. Further, Cerebos advised that the yeast labelling plant we had perfected for them would now be brought back in house impacting revenue by a further $1 million a year effective September 2015. A final cherry on the cake was the loss of Campbelltown DES due to star ratings of 1, impacting revenue by another $1 million. With Revenue at $47 million for 2014/15 but dropping by 15% to $40 million due to the above in 2015/16. Also at this point the build of the Group Homes in partnership with the State Government had not commenced and when started would be a significant drain on management time and funds. As 2014/15 ended the position and outlook was bleak.

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2015 marked an important change in the trajectory of Afford, with the appointment of Steven Herald to CEO in the closing quarter. Throughout his career Steve held a Senior Executive roles for various service retail multi-nationals, including household names such as Flight Centre, Mister Mint and Hoyts. Steve was drawn to the sector by his personal experience with close family members, which, paired with commercial savviness saw Afford led with a strong head, but soft heart. The previous five years had seen the organisation drift as Tim had focussed much of his time on the shaping of the NDIS, and then various temporary arrangements while he was ill were quite distracted with the Ecyclit project which proved to be an expensive failure costing the organisation $10 million over a 5 year period. The first changes needed to be rationalisation of the overheads which sat at 20% of Revenue, and the Revenue reductions above projected to make it even worse. A restructure brought with it a big push on organisational culture, and the introduction of a dynamic leadership team who held a wide and varied operational and strategic skill set. Overheads were reduced to 14% yet the pricing of the upcoming NDIS services had been predicated on 10% so we still had a way to go. Much of the rest would need to be achieved through growth. A can do mindset was key to success in the future so the move from bureaucratic and semi government to lean and keen had commenced. At the same time the computer systems needed to operate and transact in the much different fee for service world of the NDIS, were selected and installed in October 2015 with an investment of less than 10% of the forecast $5 million investment. Further, while this was happening the designs for the $16 million group home projects were finalised and the build commenced. Immediately, 2 properties were found to have significant amounts of buried asbestos which would cost $200,000 to dispose of, the first of many hurdles during the project.


Afford Board Member, Ross Fowler, with Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. John Ajaka at the opening of the NDIA Office Penrith.

After over 40 years as Chairman, Dr. Malcolm Borland OAM, retires from the Afford Board. Dr. Borland remains Steven Herald was appointed as CEO in 2015, which generated unprecidented business turnaround and placed Afford as a strong competitior in the NDIS operating environment.

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Afford underwent a re-branding and positioning to align with the changes within the disability sector. The revised logo represented the ‘freedom to soar’ with a person being carried into the sky by wings made up of colourful origami cranes. The bird is a symbol of freedom and Afford actively supporting the goals and aspirations of people with disability - creating freedom, choice and opportunity. ‘Afford’ become the new brand name, rather than the capitalised acronym or extension of the entire name of the organisation as we listened to our clients who do not want to see the word Disability in the logo signage. Further, we wanted something that looked modern but not austere, something our clients loved, and something where (unlike the previous logo, the name Afford could not be missed. This logo would carry us into the competitive world of the NDIS where we would be competing with large for profit organisations like Australian Unity.

To grow and mature brand awareness, Afford focused on social media and PR efforts to secure exposure for Afford services. By 2018, Afford’s Facebook pages boasts over 6,000 followers and Afford’s Animal Therapy Program was featured on Channel 9’s Weekend Today and Channel 10’s Studio 10 programs. As 2015/16 entered its second half, a further restructure at middle management level helped vastly strengthen the team and quality of customer service and move overheads to 12%. In 2015, the Board introduced three new sub-committees: the Property Committee, Finance Audit & Risk Committee and the Nomination & Remuneration Committee. Through these committees, Afford’s opportunities for growth increased rapidly and the Executive Management Team were empowered by the prompt and considered guidance of the Board. 2015/16 year ended with a fabulous result for the year with a surplus of $7 million. This was a staggering result given the amount of change and projects with the underlying Operating Profit of $5.5 million being achieved in spite of the $7 million revenue loss from factors listed above and still carrying $500,000 of Ecycleit property costs. To partially offset the revenue loss was significant growth of 10% across most parts of the business. Throughout this decade, employment offices were opened in Blacktown and Campbelltown and a Transition to Work office was also opened in Blacktown, the work skills training program was provided by Afford to over 20 schools and 150 students with support from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Coca Cola Australia. The Carers program developed and a booklet on multicultural Carer Experiences was launched by Nick Lalich, Mayor of Fairfield earlier in this decade; and the Transition to Retirement Program project was established and continued to develop in partnership with the University of Sydney and the Australian Research Council.

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In partnership with the South Western Sydney Institute (SWSi) TAFE, Afford initiated the Employment Work Skills Program – a NSW first for the industry, which assisted over 30 supported employees to enhance their workplace knowledge, skills and job satisfaction. Afford was nominated for and successfully secured a Zest Award for the Employee Work Skills Program. Afford was nominated for and became a finalist in the Daily Telegraph Champions of the West Awards for the Employee Work Skills Program. Through Afford’s partnership with SWSi, 57 Afford staff members graduated from Granville TAFE with a Certificate IV in Disability. The organisation also focussed on internal development with the implementation of Employer of Choice initiatives. Moving into 2017, Afford passed a milestone of reaching over 1,000 employees. 32 staff per month were given opportunity to ‘step up’ and act in higher roles. Staff morale rated at its highest with 94% of Afford staff feeling a sense of personal accomplishment in their role, 30% higher income satisfaction, and 96% of staff believe in the overall purpose of Afford and express that they are willing to go above and beyond for Afford. Afford had proudly achieved the highest results recorded by any company in the history of the Voice Survey, a staff survey designed by Macquarie University and used by 3,000 companies across all sectors with a few hundred in the disability sector. Also, DES sites had now moved to 2 sites on 5 stars (highest ranking) and 2 on 4 stars meaning we were number 1 in Australia with average star ratings of 4.5 across Afford. Over 200 staff were recognised and nominated for a Customer Service Award and Afford’s Step Up Program experienced its most successful year, with the full pool of talent given the opportunity to progress into more senior roles. In terms of Employer of Choice initiatives, 207 staff opted to be part of Afford’s fitness passport and healthy living initiative, six bi-annual Staff Development Conferences – 4 Management and Leadership Conferences and 2 Front-line Development Conferences - were held for staff development, Afford staff experienced highest in sector wages, Buzz Nights, PACES, Incentive scheme, Afford Rewards and more. www.afford.com.au

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The NDIS would be the biggest change in the history of Disability Services in Australia. The NDIS saw a move away from a Governmentdirected, program centric approach to a modern, client-directed and competitive market. From 2016 and beyond, a person-centred mindset was key, with Afford emphasising its whole-of-life approach to disability services. Afford rebranded across all separate operating divisions and a new website was launched including an NDIS planning tool developed with NDIS funding. Afford implemented participant supports seven days per week and introduced recreation and leisure activities for clients on weekends and evenings. Afford launched supported holidays program, ‘Afford Getaways’, with over 100 clients visiting Disneyland, Gold Coast, Darwin and enjoying a number of cruises; launched the ‘Afford Carers’ Programs with numerous fun events for carers including Harbour Cruises, Paddle Steamer cruises and themed restaurant dinners; sold 700 Christmas Hampers packed in Afford Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) with all products produced by ADEs; launched membership based, healthy lifestyles program, Club Afford, with 124 clients were actively participating in health and wellness programs; and held International Day of People with Disability celebrations. By 2017 residents were moving into the new group homes and by 2018 all 40 residents of the Afford Cherrywood Village in Llandilo graduated from a Life Training Skills program and had moved into Group Homes in Penrith with the affectionate names of True Blue, Aussie Digs, Lavender, Country Lodge, Dolphin Cove, Billabong, Warwick. The transformation of the old Cherrywood Village then launched ‘Cherrywood Supersite’, which included a Day Program, Respite, Secret Garden, Animal Therapy Zoo and various other activities. 2017 commemorated Afford’s 65th birthday and many extraordinary achievements for the organisation. The 2016/17 year saw Afford transition around 1,500 clients to the NDIS, with exceptional outcomes achieved across the board.

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By 2017 Cherrywood residents were moving into their purpose built group homes.


2016/17 was another staggering result for Afford, confirming the result of the turnaround year 2015/16. The year had been a very difficult one transitioning so many clients and we had also seen massive growth in Client Services – NDIS services. Our vision and mission is about supporting as many clients as possible with quality services and this growth helped achieve that goal. Client Services grew by over 50% while our traditional factory businesses that generate sales of about $20 million per annum were fairly static. The first year of the NDIS also saw Transition to Work decimated. Operating profit for the year was $5.7 million with total Profit for the year of $12,300,000 with a further gain on revaluation of property $10,500,000 seeing an increase to Equity of $22,800,000 to $60,869,000! Not bad! The key components of our Employer of Choice programs were now well established and not just driving staff morale per the Voice Survey, but quality of services to clients and attitude to the change brought by the NDIS. Our staff turnover in 2012, 2013 & 2014 had been 33% against the National Average of 22% in the Disability Sector and 21% across all companies. Our staff turnover for 2017 was down to 12% which given the turmoil in the sector was a proud achievement. The key employer of choice components are enjoyed by staff as follows: 1. Highest in sector wages 2. Tax free $15,900 available to Not for Profits offered to all staff 3. Massive training programs with annual investment of $3million 4. PACES performance incentives 5. Subsidised gym memberships, nicotine replacement therapies, uniforms etc.

6. Fabulous staff events including team building buzz nights, Christmas parties etc.

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We are proud of, and celebrate, the rich diversity of our communities

Board Chairman, Neville Barnier and Steven Herald, CEO - TTW Graduation Ceremony 202

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During this period, Afford also commenced the delivery of NDIS preplanning workshops for clients, families/carers, introduced Support Coordination across all support categories and launches an in-house NDIS team and Allied Health team, offering psychology, speech therapy and occupational therapy services to some 360 clients.

In social enterprises, Afford established ‘The Crew’, a mowing team of supported employees and won the tender for maintenance contracts for the Department of Housing. Afford also secured close to $500,000 Government Community Partnerships Grants to enhance Afford facilities and services for clients.

Though achieving great organisational success, the Afford community was saddened in 2017 by the passing of former CEO, Tim Walton, who served Afford for 17 years. Tim played many roles over several decades in the disability sector and was tireless in his efforts to improve the opportunities and services available to people with disability. His legacy lives on through the work of Afford. 2017 saw the staging of the very first Afford Annual Gala Ball (900 attendance) at Penrith Panthers Marquee, which is an event held purely for client enjoyment and happiness. As part of the Gala Ball, the Project Princess initiative was launched to provide formal wear for clients through community donations. Both were a great success and the event is destined to be held annually for clients.

2018 marked the end of the 2014-18 Strategic Planning cycle with huge progress made throughout the period and all 132 Strategic Initiatives supporting the plan completed. Due to opportunities under the NDIS, Afford experienced nearly doubling in size and consequently required the relocation of its National Head Office to a new and much larger site to support future growth. In 2018, Afford expanded interstate into Queensland and Victoria and set up the first Day Program in Queensland in Beenleigh and first Respite Centre on the Gold Coast (Benowa) and Beenleigh (Waterford). Queensland South operations are centred around Beenleigh reaching north to Brisbane South and south to Coolangatta and Queensland North operations are centred around Caboolture, reaching north to Noosa and south the northern suburbs of Brisbane. 204

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In Victoria, Afford set up an office in Frankston to service the Bayside area and South East Melbourne. This has quickly spread to cover most of Melbourne particularly Cranbourne through to Dandenong. With the NDIS still being rolled out in certain regions in Queensland and Victoria, 2018 was the year of support for clients to transition to the NDIS.

In these last 3 years while many competitors have ben closing loss making businesses to maintain their viability we have not closed one service. We have many services that are not viable or struggle, our factories being a constant challenge, but we will not walk away from any. Our factories are a great example where the massive benefit they provide to our clients in terms of social networks, self-esteem and

Afford solidifies its position as the largest employer of people with a disability in the Sydney metropolitan area from five ADES with almost 500 supported employees. Afford’s pallet manufacturing business had a record breaking year with sales of over $7.5 million of a wide variety of pallets. Afford ADEs packaged 170,000 packages for Colgate. Afford Employment sustained a rank in the top 5 DES businesses nationally across 2017/18. 2017/18 was another year of great success with revenue growing from $52 million to $68 million, total company growth of about 35%. Our vision and mission is about providing services to as many clients as possible and revenue growth means we are supporting more people and making a bigger impact on our communities. In client services, Day Programs, Accommodation and Respite grew by 50%. Afford helped 650 people find open employment. The organisation delivered 700+ person-centred programs every week and Afford vehicles travelled 5 million kilometres to support clients to access the community, activities and events. In 2017 & 2018 Afford purchased 29 new properties to a value of $17million and due to strong financial and organisation position, Afford merged with WALCA (Wellness and Leisure Centre for Adults) in Bexley, as well as the Norma Parker Respite Centre in Lakemba in 2018. Further care organisations have approached us to merge and Redland Respite in Brisbane servicing over 100 Day Program and Respite clients will join in March 2019. We have also purchased over 100 vehicles to provide transport to our clients, half of these being vans with wheelchair hoists and the remainder being people movers and sedans – the latter for 1 to 1 services – total investment of over $4million.

extra income on top of their Disability Support Pension (DSP) simply needs to be funded by other means if we make a loss. Even if we find ourselves moved to the Supported Wage system as may be the case after the High Court ruling, which will likely impact us by $1.5 million per annum, we will continue their operation. Afford experienced significant organisational growth with the completion of seven new group homes in the Penrith area; new Day Programs opened in Oran Park, Narellan, Eschol Park, Rouse Hill, and Lurnea; the Cherrywood Supersite was transformed from Cherrywood Village into an industry leading hub of disability services that can be accessed by clients across Sydney; and a comprehensive Property Maintenance Program commenced across all operational and investment properties.

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From a support base of 1,400 clients, employees and carers in 2010, by 2018 Afford provided disability supports to more than 3,000 people every day across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. From 700 employees in 2010 we now have 2,000 employees.

Afford was the National Award winner of the Voice Project’s Change Challenge Awards in the Large Business Category and awarded the #1 Disability Care Service Provider in Australasia in 2018 by the NDIS Update’s Enablement Awards.

In recognition of Afford’s robust growth, the organisation was awarded Employer of Choice for the Macarthur Region at the Macarthur Business Awards and Afford Bankstown and Fairfield Disability Employment Services achieved a 5 star rating for producing exceptional employment outcomes.

2017/18 financial year closed with another fabulous result with Operating Surplus of $5.1million and total surplus of $8.7 million. This moves us to $70 million Equity making us the 3rd highest in the Australian Disability Sector behind much older organisations Endeavour and Yooralla, and likely to pass Yooralla this year. Afford was also awarded at the For Purpose Forum held by The Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Allambie Heights in 2018. The nomination came from organisations change over the past three years and how adapting to change has made the organisation stronger to grow and become a leading disability service provider.

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At the halfway point in 2018/19 we are on target to achieve Revenue of $91 million, total growth again at 35% and Client Services growth of 50%. Base operating surplus this year was on track for $8mil so we are investment $2 million in interstate expansion with a total surplus expected of $6 million. We will also revalue properties this year so the current reductions in Sydney/Melbourne of 10% may hurt but our investment property, Henry Lawson Shopping Centre in Penrith, will likely offset any diminution in operational sites.


Our 3 Year Strategic Plan launched in July 2018 is well on track with our plan to reach $150 million Revenue by 2021 with a National footprint. We believe that to secure our future and support clients for another 65 years we need achieve that size and financial strength to combat the likely arrival of For Profits in what is already a competitive marketplace, but will be much more so when prices are no longer set but are determined by the market. But irrespective of all of it we will remain focussed like a laser on our vision and mission, our reason for being, and are hard-headed in our approach to business but soft hearted towards those we are here to support.

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Above - Three serving Afford Chairman: Ross Fowler, Dr Malcolm Borland and Neville Barnier. www.afford.com.au

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Evolution of the Afford logo

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2015 - Current www.afford.com.au

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1300 233 673 www.afford.com.au

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