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Thursday, 24th February 2022

Avenue is open and ready to raise the bar for our community – all in a day’s work!

A $160,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation has helped create Avenue, a purpose-built work centre in Newcastle for locals living with a disability.

Avenue is one of the first programs of its kind, creating an innovative and a rewarding alternative to recreational or therapeutic day programs for local people living with disabilities.

Avenue is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Laura O'Reilly. The program provides people with disabilities with tailored work activities such as letterbox distributions, animal care (pet sitting and dog walking), gardening, retail sales and fulfilling online orders.

"Avenue flips the traditional models of work on their heads, by redesigning traditional workflows to meet people’s abilities and support needs,” Ms O’Reilly said.

“Work should be accessible to all, and Avenue sets a new standard for social and economic inclusion for people with a disability,” she said.

“Feedback from the community and our participants has been immensely positive. People are embracing our approach including support workers, community groups, parents and carers of people with a disability, and funding partners such as Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.”

The brand-spanking Newcastle centre has quiet spaces, sensory rooms, fully accessible bathrooms and tons of other features for team members to be able to fully participate.

One of Avenue’s first participants Julie Clifton said there has been nothing like Avenue in her area. She is determined to use her lived experience of intellectual disability to help others to reach their goals and live their dreams.

"Avenue helps give me purpose, and is building my self-confidence, social skills and work skills,” Ms Clifton said.

Bringing Avenue to the Hunter has been one of the organisation’s top priorities as it’s one of Australia’s highest need areas for quality disability support services.

Jennifer Leslie attended Avenue’s opening ceremony and said she was pleased to help bring this much needed support service to the region.

"Purposeful work and recognition for it is vital for everyone,” Ms Leslie said.

“Avenue’s approach delivers real world work skills as well as supporting participants to socialise with teammates and develop their individual skills.

“The Charitable Foundation is excited to support the establishment of such a worthwhile enterprise. With the goal to attract around 80 team members in its first year, we know it will make a significant positive impact on our local community,” she said.

Avenue is taking registrations for participants and expressions of interest for partnerships from the local business community. For more information visit www.avenuecoworking.org.au

Avenue space in Newcastle open to all
Avenue space in Newcastle open to all abilities.

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