How we started and where we are going

Starting from humble beginnings in 1961, Fairhaven have grown to be a leading disability support provider on the Central Coast.


The inaugural meeting of local families of children living with intellectual disability was held at the Ettalong Guide Hall. So began the Central Coast Branch of the Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association.


The Association opened the first special needs school in the area. Fairhaven School was located temporarily at the Kincumber Hall. The teacher’s name was Mrs Marge Readett and there were nine pupils. It then occupied the East Gosford Baptist Church Hall for a time while a new premises was being built.


The school moved to its permanent site at 209 Brisbane Water Drive, Point Clare. The new building was generously supported by several community clubs – including Apex, Rotary, Lions, Women’s Auxiliary and Scouts – who came together to donate money, time, machinery and materials.


As the children grew and finished their schooling the Point Clare site expanded to offer the first post school Activity Centre. The young adults did craft and one commercial job making bath cleaning balls from tulle.


An officially designated government subsidised Activity Therapy Centre began operations at the site to provide employment opportunities for our young adults. The centre grew to perform complex production duties such as mechanical and electronics assembly, shrink packaging, screen printing and computerised embroidery.


The NSW Education Department agrees to take over responsibility of running the Fairhaven School.


A residential service was established. Kincumber Lodge provided for 16 residents.


An independent cottage for residents opened at Kincumber.


Supported employment began and was known as Business Services.


To accommodate the growing number of student enrolments, the Fairhaven School relocates to a larger site at Narara and continues to operate there as Glenvale Special School.


The Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association (NSW) changes its name to Challenge Foundation NSW.


In line with the new direction of supported employment, Fairhaven opened Challenge Electronics factory at Woy Woy with government and community support. It was a smaller facility offering advanced computer assembly work.


Our first charity op shop started up at Umina.  It was run by several parents, including Ina and Frank Gondolf and in its heyday contributed as much as $1,000 a week toward fundraising efforts, a huge achievement for its time.


With the introduction of the Disability Services Act 1986, principles and objectives for disability service delivery was enshrined into legislation. It marked a shift from the older style “sheltered workshops” to a Business Services model as employment for people with disability emerged as a national priority for the Australian Government.


Studio One, a computerised embroidery and screen printing facility, opened at Woy Woy and operated for several years.


A house to support independent living for up to five residents was built at Ettalong.


Fairhaven withdraws from Challenge Foundation and becomes Fairhaven Services Ltd


Opened a production facility for supported employment at Bowen Crescent, West Gosford.


2,000 square metre packaging plant opened at Tuggerah and became our flagship supported employment enterprise. The official opening was attended by then Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, the Hon Tony Abbott MP.


Respite centre opened in Kincumber and operated for two years.


95 employees with a disability completed Certificate I and III training in Warehousing and Distribution.


Purchased Central Coast Laundry at West Gosford.


Established a registered training organisation, Focus Oze Learning which operated until 2014.


Our packaging business rebrands to become Pacific CoPack.


Business Services becomes known as Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE) and emphasises professional training and employment development of supported employment.


Fairhaven wins National Innovation ADE Excellence Award for Australian Disability Enterprises.


The West Gosford site expanded with a new 1,000 square metre factory which also housed the relocated laundry facility. Packaging work was done at this site until 2016.


Opened Xanadu re-use and e-cycling centre at the Point Clare site, employing supported workers.


Tuggerah packaging factory was destroyed by fire late one night. Employees were relocated to the work site at Point Clare while it was rebuilt.


Xanadu re-use centre was renamed and refreshed to Vintage Fair. Supported employees begin upcycling op shop donations into shabby chic pieces; painting, sanding, decoupage and felting.


Vintage Fair invited to host a pop up shop at Westfield Tuggerah in December 2014 and then again in September-October 2015 as part of former Wyong Council’s “Activate” program.


Fare Cravin’ café opens at the Point Clare op shop site.


The first of our clients make the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme as it rolls out in the Central Coast region.


After turning a few old pallets into shelving for our op shop book store, the ReCreate supported employment enterprise officially launches. The first product line offered made to order enviro-friendly pallet furniture then slowly built up to produce high end rustic furniture and homewares using all manner of quality reclaimed and salvaged materials.


Kincumber site redeveloped to accommodate five purpose-built accessible homes that provide independent living options in two, three or five bedroom shared accommodation for people with varying support needs.


Vintage Fair invited to host a pop up shop at Erina Fair, courtesy of LendLease, which lasted over 12 months and turned sales above $165,000.


Vintage Fair wins prestigious Excellence in Social Enterprise at the Gosford/Erina & Coastal Business Chamber Awards.


Booker Bay site redeveloped to accommodate two purpose-built accessible villas offering shared independent living for five people with standard support needs.


Fairhaven rebrands and marks the beginning of a new era. Our social enterprises are renamed Fairhaven CoPack, Fairhaven Shopping and Fairhaven ReCreate.


We are busy working toward our next milestone. Stay tuned!

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