Our History

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1953

A group of parents banded together to provide education for their children who had been denied access to the standard education system. The group, supported by many local politicians, councils and community members, purchased a house named ‘Windgap’ at Mount Street in Coogee.

1955

Windgap Special School opened. Families became members of the Eastern Suburbs/South Sydney branch of the Sub-Normal Children’s Welfare Association (SCWA). The branch became known locally as Windgap.

1962

Windgap Activity Therapy Centre opened as an annexe to the Windgap Special School, providing day programs for school leavers and adults with disabilities.

1972

Windgap Enterprises opened as a sheltered workshop at Eastlakes, employing people with intellectual disabilities.

1979

Gumnut Play Therapy Group opened for children with special needs aged 0−5 years.

1983

Windgap Cottages opened at Little Bay, providing accommodation for 21 residents with disabilities.

Warrina Cottage opened at Daceyville for four people with severe and profound intellectual and physical disabilities.

1987

McCullagh Cottage, made possible by a generous donation from the McCullagh family, opened at Mascot.

1988

Winpex Printing Services established in partnership with Apex Clubs of Australia.

1989

Connare Special School transferred to Wairoa Special School at Bondi

Windgap Foundation Limited incorporated was established. It then acquired assets of the Eastern Suburbs/South Sydney branch of Challenge Foundation and commenced operations.

1990

Windgap Workcrews (Wincrew) Service established. Wincrew was groups of small teams who each day would go out and work in the community. Work would include gardening, cleaning, and newspaper delivery.

1992

Windgap Community Access and Support Service (CASS) opened at Mount Street.

1993

The late Hon. Jim Kaldis MLC and Mrs Heather Kaldis provided a property in King Street, Eastlakes, for Windgap to use as a supported accommodation service for six years.

1994

The original site for Windgap services at Mount Street Coogee was sold.

Garden Street CASS commenced operations at Maroubra Junction.

1995

Coward Street CASS opened at Mascot as a result of the sale of the Coogee property, as was our Garden Street property.

1996

The first Post School Options (PSO) user joined Windgap. This program enabled school leavers with high support to access and participate in community activities.

The Department of Ageing and Disability funded the relocation of the Windgap Cottages’ residents in order to meet new Disability Services Standards of community living.

Hayes Road Cottage opened, providing another group home for adults with disabilities within the community.

1997

Gale Road Cottage opened as the first move from Windgap Cottages to community housing.

1998

Tweedmouth Cottage at Rosebery opened to house our residents making the move from the closure of the Windgap Cottages.

2001

Draper Centre at Botany opened, partly funded by the generosity of the Draper family. Today this Day Program provides community participation, leisure activities and life skill programs to our Life After Work participants.

2005

Transition to Work and Community Participation programs commenced for school leavers, supporting them to transfer from school to work. Transition to work was the new name for Post School Options – Today, this program is know as School Leavers Employment Supports, enabling school leavers with disabilities access training, programs and community activities to transition towards employment or a career.

2008

Windgap won a National Business Services Excellence Award in the Supported Employee’s Team category for packing and delivering 95,000 show bags in just three-and-half weeks.

2009

Windgap expanded Day Programs services to East Sydney Day Programs site at Botany through winning a tender to take over a service previously run by the State Government. This opportunity increased Windgap’s client base by 75 participants

Winpex and Wincrew closed and merged with Business Services at Florence Avenue. At this time Business Services adopted its new name as an Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE).

Our new Supported Employment initiative commenced called ‘Growability’. Growability remains a successful business today, providing supported employment to adults with intellectual disabilities in residential and commercial gardening and lawn maintenance.

2010

Major renovations commenced across all accommodation sites to make more person centred modifications and improvements. In addition, planning commenced to provide better group combinations at the houses.

Six residents moved into a newly renovated house at Kensington. The acquisition of Carlton Street property, was purchased with financial support from Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC).

2011

Tweedmouth Cottage reopens after renovations are completed.

2012

Transition to Retirement (TTR) programs started and the TTR Art Café established with the support of generous corporate funding.

2013

60th Anniversary of Windgap and 30th Anniversary of Residential Services.

The Windgap Foundation opened the Tukka Box café as part of its Hospitality and Learning Centre program. Here, students learn a range of hospitality skills as part of the Transition to Work program.

Harcourt Parade Cottage opened.

2014

McCullagh Cottage reopened after renovations are completed.

Building works on two new purpose built houses commenced in Pagewood and Little Bay.

Windgap expanded Residential Services with the commencement of services from a site at Anglesea Street at Bondi.

2015

Bega Street Residential opened its doors.

Mr Espresso By Windgap launched, coinciding with the International Day of People with Disability. Mr Espresso was Australia’s first ever coffee house cafe operated almost entirely by adults with intellectual disabilities. Providing meaningful, skilled employment for up to 12 participants with intellectual disabilities.

Transition To Retirement renamed to Life After Work.

Page Street Residential opened its doors.

2016

Windgap’s Customer Care and Advocacy business unit was formed.

2017

Windgap began providing services to participants under NDIS funding.

2018

Customer Care and Advocacy successfully transitioned all Windgap participants onto NDIS funding. Windgap now has 300 plans under management.

Windgap approved for services being offered under CoS Funding (Continuity of Support) by the Department of Health for over 65 year olds ineligible for NDIS.

2019

Windgap moved facilities in April 2019, where Banksmeadow became home to our new head office, ADE and Growability. Windgap also welcomed two day of our Day Programs, Margate Street and Sutherland Street.

2020

Windgap services were negatively impacted by covid-19. Reduced services operated in line with changing Government regulations at the time.

The relocation of two Day Programs, Coward Street and Daniel Street to our 8 Florence Ave site, to provide the future expansion of Accommodation Services – renovation works commenced in mid-2020 for the operation of services to commence in 2021.