Our transformative journey of empowerment and support.

The Disability Trust was established

The Disability Trust was established through the collective efforts of people with disability and their families. Its earliest role was in developing and bringing together local services in the Illawarra and advocating for more effective ways to meet community needs.

NSW Government Funding

The NSW Government began funding TDT as an information provider, working out of a small cottage in Wollongong. It became a meeting and referral point for people with disability, their families and those agencies concerned with their needs. Our main activities included supporting a range of self-help groups and producing the first members’ newsletter, an activity that continues to this day.

Facilitating Political Input

In the 1980s, TDT played a significant role in facilitating input by people with disability and their families into political decisions affecting their lives and their services. Candidates from all political parties were invited to meet with people with disability and their families in regular pre-election public forums. TDT also created opportunities for people with disability and their families to have a say in the critical issues of the time.

Attendant Care Scheme Funding

TDT received funding through the national Attendant Care Scheme, which was set up to provide for personal care support and assistance in activities of daily living for people with significant physical disability. This was the first of a new service type, offering opportunities for self-direction in care. Today we support more than 30 people with high level physical disability through this scheme.

Emergency Care Programs

The Disability Trust set up emergency care programs to alleviate pressures faced by families of people with disability in times of crisis. This started a period of rapid growth in the area of respite and in-home care. Funding for respite services targeted to various client groups quickly followed.

Jarrah Begins

TDT started Jarrah, our post-school options program, with a focus on people with behavioural support needs.

Building Income Sources

As well as establishing new funded services, TDT has been successful in building its other sources of income. Kids Fund, our charitable wing, has allocated over $800,000 to local families of children with disability since its inception in 1999.

By far the biggest source of discretionary income has come from the operation of TDT’s business wing, Care Solutions.

Care Solutions was also established in 1999 to provide high quality but affordable care on a fee-for-service basis and has been contracted by a range of agencies for various forms of in-home care and one-on-one client support. Our clinical services professionals provide additional expertise for the support of complex care clients.

At this time, TDT also established an unfunded respite house as a venue for flexible service provision and holiday respite. It was the first of its type in NSW, with many other agencies adopting similar models over the next decade.

Disability Accommodation Support Service Merger

The Disability Trust merged with the Disability Accommodation Support Service provided at the time by The Housing Trust. This resulted in four group homes and the Independent Living Service all coming under TDT’s management. Both services have since grown and we have opened two additional group homes.

The merger also included the auspice of the Active Linking Initiative (ALI) based in the Southern Highlands. The ALI service provides support to the residents of boarding houses to enable them to participate in community based activities including recreation, leisure, cultural and educational programs.

Services in the Southern Highlands and South-West Sydney have grown significantly since.

llawarra Vocational Services (IVS) Merger

The Disability Trust undertook a further strategic merger with Illawarra Vocational Services (IVS), a federally funded supported employment service for people with disability, now known as Australian Disability Enterprises (ADE). IVS was originally established in the 1980s as an initiative of TDT and the organisations had retained strong links throughout the period. Since the merger we have doubled business income and secured the viability of the service. We have also built outlet capacity, with IVS now employing more than 50 supported employees – up from 23 prior to TDT’s involvement.

Mental Health Project

The Disability Trust successfully gained funding to operate a Mental Health Project providing community living support to people with psychiatric disabilities in Macarthur and Wingecarribee. Since then we have established a fully funded respite house for people with disabilities, and received recurrent funding for respite services vacation and after-school care for children with disability. Offices in Mittagong have grown accordingly and we operate a new day program and respite services in Goulburn. Services in the Southern Highlands are thriving and are a highly valued part of the community services landscape of the area.

Period of Significant Growth

This began another period of significant growth resulting from the rollout of the NSW Government Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) initiative, Stronger Together, and new Federal funding. State funding saw flexible respite increased, independent living services expanded in the Illawarra and Eurobodalla, and a Transition to Work service set up in the Shellharbour area. TDT also took over operation of day programs in Goulburn and Wollongong, and ADHC approved the establishment of two new accommodation group homes for people with very high physical support needs in South -West Sydney.

Outside of School Hours Care Service - Funding

The Disability Trust received further funding for Outside of School Hours Care services in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, and in March 2010 we began Disability Employment Services in the region.

On 1 October we merged with WorkAbility, based in Southern NSW. With its origins as a successful disability employment agency across the Far South Coast of NSW stretching back to 1991, WorkAbility provides a range of employment and community services across five local government areas : Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Snowy, Bombala and Cooma shires.

New Offices

In 2011, The Disability Trust opened new offices in Shellharbour and Bega, and a new group home in Claymore. Later that same year we also achieved accreditation for the very rigorous Attendant Care Industry Management System Standard (ACIMSS).

SSTC Merger

In January 2012, TDT merged with long-term partner Southern Sydney Trusted Care (SSTC). SSTC started as an early intervention service in 1974 and has since evolved into a quality respite and recreation service that provides care in the Sutherland Shire, Hurstville, Kogarah and Rockdale local government areas.

In October 2012 we began the move of 66 residents out of Sunshine Lodge and Cottages. We moved five residents into a home in Bargo and the other 61 moved into to the nurses quarters on the grounds of the old Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital in Goulburn. Over the next 12 months we transitioned the residents to other organisations, aged care, independent living and TDT group homes. We set up four houses (17 residents) in Goulburn and eight houses in the Southern Highlands (34 residents) plus three units for four clients who chose to live independently.

ACT, Trusted Travel, & Headway merger

In 2014, TDT started delivering services in the ACT. Our initial focus was on the transition and management of two respite houses, one for teenagers with disability and a second house geared to the needs of adults. Services are aimed at maximising the independence of people with disability and supporting them in developing and maintaining life skills. Pleasingly, we saw our services in the ACT grow with the NDIS implementation in the territory.

Trusted Travel was launched, offering a variety of group and individualised holidays to people with a disability. The service continues to grow, creating fun, memorable, personalised and well-supported holidays that enable travel to any destination for all.

TDT also merged with Headway Illawarra on 1 July. Headway was established in 1985 as a small voluntary group to provide post-rehabilitation support for adults with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). The support provided is specifically designed to improve lifestyle outcomes for people with an ABI.

NDIS Transition continued

This was an exciting year as the NDIS transition continued. TDT saw an increase in services provided to existing participants who continued to choose us as their preferred provider for additional supports. We also welcomed many new service users who chose TDT as their NDIS provider for the first time. Keeping participants at the heart of what we do is always very important and this was especially true as we negotiated the challenges related to the NDIS transition, working hard to smooth the way and support individuals and families through the process.

We also opened several new residential facilities, a fabulous new office and hub in Queanbeyan and Nowra, and renovated our Day Options service in Wollongong.


There was great excitement when TDT began operating the Mountview Centre in Balgownie, previously operated by the NSW Government Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). The centre includes a 16-bed Specialist Supported Living (SSL) group home and a five-bedroom respite home.

We worked closely with FACS to ensure the smooth transition of services, information and systems. We were fortunate to already know many of the residents directly and we have since built on these relationships, supporting them into the future.

Supported Independent Living

The Disability Trust was delighted to be selected to provide Supported Independent Living (SIL) services to residents moving out of the NSW Government Large Residential Centres (Stockton, Tomaree and Kanangra) in the Hunter over the next 12 months.

This led to The Trust operating a number of new SIL services in the Hunter region providing our quality support services to participants moving out into the community. 

The Disability Trust opened a new head office at Edney Lane in Spring Hill, consolidating three offices and bringing together more than 170 employees under one roof.

We also opened The Plant Room Café, located next to our new headquarters. The Café is a social enterprise, which was opened in conjunction with Illawarra Vocational Services to enable supported employees to develop skills in the hospitality industry.

Successful move of 76 participants

The Disability Trust was proud to complete the successful move of 76 participants from three large residential centres across the Hunter region into 17 new homes in the Hunter Valley, Sydney and Shoalhaven areas.

This has been a huge change for the residents, their families and supporters. We were pleased to help deliver great outcomes for the residents as they settled into life in their new home and the local community. Being included in community is really important for all of us .

KidsWish House opens

The Disability Trust proudly opened the foors to KidsWish House in Shellharbour on 17 May. This purpose-built multidisciplinary facility serves as the new central location for KidsWish events and programs. It also offers essential clinical services such as speech and occupational therapy. The centre's versatile features include a basketball court which doubles as a hall, an outdoor courtyard, sensory garden, music and dance studio, and office spaces.

Indigenous Culture mark

The Disability Trust acknowledges the traditional custodians of the Country on which we provide services. We recognise the strength and intergenerational resilience of Elders and honour the culture and knowledge of community leaders past, present and emerging.

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