A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
At ACCnet21 we are proud of our history that started from humble beginnings in 1990 in Murwillumbah, on the Far North Coast of NSW. We were known back then as Far North Coast Accommodation Network, where we supported six clients to live individually. The founder Debbie Stewart saw the opportunity to provide these clients a new support system that better suited their needs, and the potential for providing a person centred approaches under the banner of “fading support to independence” was born.
In 1993 the organisation became known as Accommodation Network Pty Ltd. During 1994 and 1995 we opened a new office space, set up a group home in Murwillumbah, and kicking off our first day support program which was called Post School Options.
By 1996 we had grown dramatically and by our reputation this trend continues to this day. By the end of 1996 we opened an office in Ocean Shores and in 1997 we commenced our first centre based day program called LINCS Day Programs. These services were established on the Far North Coast; Mid North Coast and Coffs Harbour.
By 1998 Accommodation Network was providing over 70 support programs to clients and during that year ACCnet21 was successful in a tender for a service that was referred to as the “Hall for Children”. This was the devolution of an institution that housed young people and children in the Blue Mountains. Our success in this tender enabled us to establish two new services, one in northern NSW and the other in the Hunter.
As the needs for services continued to grow we also were successful in tendering for services in the New England Area. We established shared living supports and Post School Options Programs in these regions.
During 1999 and 2000 ACCnet21 continued to offer support to an increasing number of clients and was at that time one of the top 5% of funded services in NSW. During this time we changed our motto to “Excel Yourself”. Also in 1999 we changed the name of our day programs from LINC’s Day Program to ARCADIA. Arcadia became our hub for centre based day programs on the far north coast. By delivering new creative lifestyle opportunities we attracted over 45 new clients on the Far North Coast.
In 2003 ACCnet21 worked with a group of other service providers to establish a consortium of disability providers, the consortium went on to deliver a specialised new program called “LIFE MOVES”.
As services grew, so did the complexity of our client groups. In order to meet the growing need we developed a multidisciplinary team with backgrounds in mental health disorders, challenging behaviours and includes Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Social Workers.
By 2006 we had over 179 staff and 80% had completed their Certificates in Disability Services, both at certificate three and four levels.
In 2007 ACCnet21 moved the corporate team from Ocean Shores to South Tweed Heads. This move culminated with our approval to provide services in Queensland.
By 2008 the Mid North Coast service had outgrown their office space and a new office was located closer to shops and facilities in Coffs Harbour.
From 2009 ACCnet21 developed an internal intranet system; this system has evolved over time and gone through an amazing transformation. This system is the backbone for all of our internal record keeping and reporting processes.
Passionate about offering the best possible services ACCnet21 embarked on a Quality Framework System, with the goal of becoming accredited through the International Standards of Operation (ISO 9001:2008). In 2010 we were awarded accreditation the International Standards of Operation (ISO 9001:2008) and accredited as a Housing Provider Class 3. This culminated with the launch of our Website.
2012 saw us receive our registration under The Children and Young Persons’ Act 1998 which enable us to provide voluntary out of home care for children, and young people in NSW.
Since the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2012 and the subsequent roll-out across Australia, ACCnet21 have undertaken a major review of all processes and our strategic direction to ensure that service meet the new framework. One of our main priorities has been that participant and their families can make the transition to NDIS well informed, adequately supported and with minimal fuss. Quality and compliance, strategic planning, customer service and staff support and training have been high on our priorities as well.
In 2012 we welcomed a new Board Director Mr Mathew Dickerson and in 2013 we farewelled Mr Gus De-Glas, after ten years of support, insight and knowledge to the Board and Executive.
Mr Bill Hawson joined the team in 2014 and was appointed Chairperson.
Our ever growing asset and tenancy management portfolio has enabled us to design and construct new purpose built houses, and we are proud to say that over the past four years we have completed two new property developments, with two currently in the planning stages. Participants supported by ACCnet21 will continue to have access to housing that has been designed with their specific needs in mind.
This is a snapshot of our incredible journey so far.