Be scam aware. We will never approach you for donations or your personal information, especially via social media. Learn more.

We use cookies to provide you with the best possible online experience. Read more

Generating change for locals living with a disability.

It’s Monday morning at 9am and despite the drizzly weather outside, dozens of team members flow through the doors of Avenue Newcastle to begin their day.

There’s stocktake to be done, coffee orders to take, online orders to fill, dogs to be walked and flyers prepared for distribution.

Come mid-morning, it’s time for a break and the lunch room fills up with chatter and laughter as everyone comes together.

Like a regular workplace, there’s banter between colleagues and a footy tipping chart prominently on display.

However, Avenue is much more than your regular workplace.

This purpose-built facility is home to a unique day program ‘alternative’ designed to give people living with disability access to microbusiness opportunities such as letterbox distributions, animal care, gardening and order fulfilment.

By flipping traditional models of work, activities are tailored to meet individual abilities and support needs so that participants can develop their skills and make a purposeful contribution to the economy.

Julie Clifton has been a regular Avenue participant since it opened in late 2021. She is also currently working towards her Certificate II in AUSLAN at TAFE.

“I love coming to Avenue to socialise with people and share my knowledge and ideas with other team members,” Julie said.

“I spend most of the time in the fulfilment room doing stocktake or packing and sending off online orders.

“My challenge was to do a Certificate II in AUSLAN to broaden my skills and help the other participants with a hearing impairment to communicate so they feel included and understood.

"This is the first time I’ve had an opportunity to help people. I leave here with more confidence and happiness."

Avenue team member Julie Clifton demonstrating AUSLAN.
Avenue team member Julie Clifton demonstrating AUSLAN.

Avenue Regional Manager, Adrian Brown, said the hub is a space where team members can thrive and be empowered to engage in rewarding work opportunities.

“Avenue seeks to create a fully inclusive workplace where individuals of all abilities and all support needs can access work, purpose and reward – the things that we all enjoy from our workplace,” Adrian said.

“Avenue is unique because we recognise that our team members come to us with their own interests and capabilities and passions.

“We seek to carve out a role for every team member that they find interesting and engaging that helps them to develop.”

Opened in October 2021, Avenue is continuing to grow, with over 65 individuals visiting the space throughout the week.

“We partner with amazing social enterprises who do good in their own right and have real commercial objectives,” Adrian said.

“Our team members earn a small amount of remuneration. All profits from Avenue’s microbusinesses are shared between those who have contributed."

"For many, is the only money that will be truly 100% theirs that they get in their day to day life."

“ This allows them to make purchases and engage confidently in their world. Through challenge and development, we see huge personal growth among our team members – from the confidence to engage with a greater range of people out in the community, to the development of skills that gives each individual a great sense of achievement.”

The opening of Avenue Newcastle was supported by a $160,000 grant from Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

“Funding from the Charitable Foundation helped us not only make this space possible, but to have the resources to open up and really launch this enterprise,” Adrian said.

“Our partnership has helped us build a space where people come to meet friends, learn skills, engage in work, find purpose and a sense of belonging.”

About Avenue Newcastle

Avenue Newcastle is a purpose-built work centre for locals living with a disability.

As one of the first programs of its kind, Avenue Newcastle creates an innovating and rewarding alternative to recreational or therapeutic day programs open to locals of all abilities.

Through the program, participants can access tailored work activities that meet their abilities and support needs, helping to set a new standard for social and economic inclusion.