Moorabbin Helpmates was established which grew from a voluntary community group as an alternative to Sheltered Workshops. It aimed to promote sharing by participants in decision making, to address the needs of those involved through employment in a business venture, to attempt to break down stigma, and to have successful outcomes for participants.
Commonwealth Demonstration funding was provided to develop a similar group in a different location. Four municipalities; Camberwell, Box Hill, Oakleigh and Waverley were chosen and examined. The outcome of the investigation, Waverley was chosen because of the greatest concentration of potential Helpmates and clients in the area. Staff were appointed and worked out of the Moorabbin office until an area was located.
Waverley Helpmates commenced effectively on 17 March 1986.
A public meeting was held in Ashwood identifying two previously disadvantaged groups; the aged population, who require a reliable and affordable garden service; and people with disabilities who wanted to work but required ongoing support and training. The relationship was established between Helpmate participants and their aged clients. The business focus provided a framework in which work training could take place, and also provided wider objectives such as personal development, empowerment, independence, open employment and integration.
Permanent premises were located at 14 Mavron Street Ashwood after Waverley Council had provided a temporary location in Montclair Avenue.
The program was evaluated. There were three staff, ten participants, 190 customers and an elected Committee of Management. The process of establishing an autonomous identity had begun.
Waverley Helpmates became an Incorporated Body
Newly introduced standards of conduct elevated Waverley Helpmates from Demonstration funding to Section 10 funding. All sheltered workshops were covered under section 13 as a transition to compliance with developing standards.
September 1991 — 1992
Waverley Helpmates auspiced a twelve month project: Waverley Skills development program aimed to assist two clients with high support needs to develop skills in order to access appropriate ongoing developmental programs. Eg: Residential transition from institutions to a community residence.
Disability Service Act 1986 was amended in 1992.
Individual Program Plans adapted to become Individual Employment Plans, Individual Work Plans at Waverley Helpmates, with the shift to Commonwealth funding. These were a requirement of the funding, which focuses on the special needs of each person and allows the development of an employment program with goals and strategies.
Commonwealth had developed Disability Service Standards which are a guide line for all disability services and an evaluation tool to monitor the quality, delivery and management of every program they fund. Helpmates excelled in the majority of the Eleven Standards.
Waverley Helpmates were affected by the drought that impacted so heavily across the State.
Waverley Helpmates joined the technological world with the use of email and launched a web page.
Waverley Helpmates Enterprise Agreement Certified at the Industrial Relations Commission.
Police checks for all staff and Helpmates became a requirement for work in some locations like schools and Retirement villages.
Waverley Helpmates became one of the few service providers with Full Quality Assurance accreditation.
May — June 2002
Waverley Helpmates Queensland Adventure for 10 days, visited Sea World, Dream world, frozen world, and lots of other places. This was the start of a long tradition of Helpmates’ Holidays to locations such as Western Australia, Sydney, Fiji and many others.
The formation of two basketball teams, The Grasskillers & The Hoovers.
2005 — 2006
All remaining Helpmates moved from Block Funding to Case Based Funding. It has resulted in increasing in the level of government funding for the program overall. The Case Based Funding has created an increased demand on the staff to provide individual assessment of all participants.
Renovations were completed. The office expanded into from two to three offices with additions of toilets, showers, and kitchen. Special government grants enabled Waverley Helpmates to complete the work without dipping into own funds.
Waverley Helpmates is an accredited NDIS provider.
The organisation continues to thrive providing quality services with 6 staff, 32 Helpmates, 12 committee members, 6 trucks, and over 600 customers.