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John & Janne Machin

Dundaloo Foundation Ltd has been maximising people’s potential since 1953. It was established by local families living in the Manning Valley.  Initially it only provided schooling for local children and young people with an intellectual disability. The school was funded and built by local families and businesses. As the children grew older the families, with Government support, built a dormitory-style hostel to accommodate the children during the week. The children would go home to their families on the weekends.

Dundaloo Foundation became part of the Challenge Foundation, expanding its accommodation base to other young people. The Women’s Hostel was established in 1966 and provided accommodation to women and children. The Men’s Hostel was established a few years later, but was rebuilt in the 1970’s after it was destroyed by fire.

The organisation was probably typical of its day and how the community viewed people with disabilities. It was based on a paternalistic model – providing charity to the less fortunate. The staffing structure was based on a ‘hospital’ model; the matron oversaw the day to day operations, however the families continued to play a significant role.  2001 saw the establishment of the Outreach Service which provided support to people living independently in the community.

In 2006, in response to NSW Ageing, Disability and Home Care initiatives, including the introduction of a ‘person-centred’ approach, Dundaloo Support Services (DSS) began a process of change.  A focus on respect, engagement and consultation was established.  Language modification became a key feature of moving from a patronising/paternalistic model to one of empowerment. For example, service users were no longer called ‘boys’ and ‘girls’, but appropriately referred to as ‘women’ and ‘men’.

In 2007, in promoting the notion of quality of life, DSS shifted from an organisational and group focus to concentrating on what would enable people to actually have input into their own lives.

The ‘Men’s’ and ‘Women’s’ hostel model transitioned to new groups of service users within the hostels to reflect people’s capability, capacity, likes and dislikes and friendships. A one person per bedroom declaration was implemented. One hostel was established for older and frailer service users, the other for younger and more active service users.

School Building

In 2011, in partnership with NSW Community Housing, Bukalbi cottages were established, a fourteen-unit complex with the provision of drop-in support.

In 2013 with the support of the NSW Government DSS was provided $9 million for capital works.  Five new group homes were built and by December 2015 all people who had been living in the Hostels had moved into their new, modern homes.

Today, DSS operates seven group homes in the Manning area , providing accommodation and individualised support for up to 36 men and women. DSS provides short and long term drop-in support for people living independently in the community.