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A collage of images over a 35 year range of Lighthouse Disability clients.

Celebrating 35 Years of Lighthouse Disability

On 26 May 2024 Lighthouse Disability officially celebrated 35 years of providing support clients and families can depend on.

Date posted: Author: Andrew Ellis, Chief Executive Officer

Established in 1989, independent, not-for-profit organisation Lighthouse Disability now assists more than 250 South Australians through supported independent living and plan management services.

Lighthouse Disability Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ellis said the organisation, with a strong presence in the northern suburbs, had a proud history and “exciting future”.

“As an early provider of 24/7 support in residential settings, Lighthouse Disability led the way to increased independence, choice and dignity for people with physical and intellectual disabilities, becoming a provider that people could depend on, especially in the northern area of Adelaide,” Mr Ellis said.

“We carry on a proud tradition of ensuring the people we support are active participants – not just onlookers - in their households and communities, while also providing families with peace of mind.”

Until the late 1970s, State-run facilities Strathmont Centre and Ru Rua Nursing Home, later Escort House, were the main supported accommodation options for people living with significant intellectual and physical disabilities in South Australia.

The establishment of the Intellectual Disability Services Council (IDSC) paved the way for community living with Lighthouse Disability born out of a group of families in the northern suburbs who wanted a better life for their adult children. One of first houses established by Lighthouse Disability was in Craigmore.

Elice, whose daughter Amanda has been a client since the mid-nineties said she didn’t “know what would have happened to Amanda” if it weren’t for Lighthouse Disability.

“I will be forever grateful that Lighthouse Disability took over the challenge in the way they did, in the manner they did and at the time they did when others weren’t prepared to,” Elice said.

Mr Ellis said the last 35 years had seen the most significant change in disability services in Australia – and this needed to continue.

“Deinstitutionalisation, together with the NDIS, have been at the centre of the evolution towards people with disability living in the community,” he said. “The sector is now at a critical intersection and must continue to evolve to ensure the services, support and choice for people living with disabilities is not only maintained but continues to improve.”

“Lighthouse Disability is committed to being at the forefront of this and continuing to be a support provider people can depend on, while also ensuring we stay connected with our local communities.”

As part of their connection to their community, Lighthouse Disability has recently supported a number of local disability events.

“As a not-for-profit community minded organisation, we want to make sure not only that our clients’ voices are heard in their local community, but we can contribute meaningfully to the City of Playford’s disability focussed programs.”

Mr Ellis said a calendar of inclusive celebrations were planned over the next 12 months to mark the 35th milestone, including a special morning tea celebration on Sunday 2 June with Joint Patrons Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC and Mr Rod Bunten.

“Our clients and community will not just be part of the celebrations, they’ll be choosing what we do,” Mr Ellis said.

“Lighthouse Disability is a great place to work. It’s been clear since day one that the focus is always on the person that we are supporting.”

Nick, Staff Member

“Let me commend the Lighthouse Disability staff for the exemplary work that they do and for how well they interact with the clients.”

Angela, External Provider

“Lighthouse Disability is a positive organisation to be part of. They make my life easier.”

Gerry, Client

— Gill, Parent of a Client