Challenge Community Services celebrates 60 years after it began in Tamworth

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Gathered at the Tamworth Town Hall, these parents would do anything to stop their children with disabilities going into institutionalised care.

That group is today called Challenge, one of the largest community support services in the state.

“The government had already told them they could put their kids in an institution and get on with their lives, but they refused to do that,” Challenge chief executive Barry Murphy said.

“They decided to start their own school in one of the pavilions at the showground, the teacher was the bus driver and first aid officer - just about everything.”

Eventually they started an activity therapy centre, with 60 to 80 people with disabilities sorting seeds or stuffing envelopes for businesses in town.

Some could do thousands a day, others might just manage three – but everybody was learning something.

Today, Challenge provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities across a number of industries, foster care to more than 500 children and encourages independence.

Within themselves a lot of the employees feel more valuable earning a wage Mr Murphy said.

“I take my hat off to our business managers because they pour so much effort into these people,” he said.

“People with disabilities don’t take a pill every morning, they are who they are.

“A lot of their life revolves around work and the social aspect, they’re great employees and they’re very loyal.”

Story and photo from The Northern Daily Leader, 17 October 2018

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About Challenge Community Services

60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 600 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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