People with intellectual disabilities, have received Lifetime Achievement Awards at a special event hosted by Wallara Disability Services. Some of the recipients have been supported by, and contributed to its workforce, for up to 60 years.

One of the recipients, 63-year-old Terry, has been at Wallara since the age of four. Born in 1958 with an intellectual disability, it was a different time then, with not much around in terms of support.

The centre has supported Terry for 33 years and he now works with their groundworks team taking care of Sages Cottage farm grounds.

He is one of 12 seniors presented with awards for their longtime service, reuniting with other seniors with disability who have also been part of the Wallara family he grew up with in a society that often rejected them.

The event was held at Wallara’s Dandenong Street centre  on a day of festivities that included a woodwork showcase, art show and a musical performance for audience members, all built, created and performed by Wallara clients.

This support service for adults with different abilities, is located in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs, supporting over 500 people across 20 sites with work programs that focus on horticulture, hospitality, retail, media and logistics.

The Dandenong Street site is one of the learning and lifestyle hubs Wallara operates, where clients attend to develop and build skills in areas of interest. Over 30 clients attend the site each week and participate in a range of activities, including food technology, woodwork and Meals on Wheels.

In addition to the farm, service offerings include Wallara Logistics, a social enterprise providing supportive employment and workplace training for adults with an intellectual, physical or developmental disability.

Wallara also has a range of accommodation including residential housing, short-term accommodation and immersion programs and can assist with understanding the NDIS funding required to live independently.

Photo: Wallara CEO Phil Hayes-Brown with Terry