It was in 1947 – 75 years ago – that a group of parents in the Sutherland Shire united to form Sylvanvale. They created the organisation as they wanted to give their children access to education and social inclusion, like anyone else could expect to have.
As their children grew and the demand for Sylvanvale’s services increased, the supports Sylvanvale offered adapted to meet the needs of the community.
Today we support over 750 children and adults across our services from a range of cultural backgrounds throughout Sydney and the Blue Mountains to live and participate in their community, as they choose.
Sylvanvale’s growth from the outset was testament to the outstanding support of fundraisers and volunteers such as the Ladies Auxiliary, which was instrumental in generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for Sylvanvale. We are very fortunate to continue to benefit from the generosity of others – including Ken Warburton, who directs Sylvanvale’s annual Pre WWII Car Show. Ken is the son of founding members Norma and Alan and the brother of Carol Warburton – who was one of the first children ever to attend Sylvanvale.
From humble beginnings – when The Baptist Church at Flora Street in Sutherland allowed this group of families the use of their hall to start the Sylvanvale School – to our 40 plus locations today, Sylvanvale’s very core was, and is, the community.
We work in partnership with the community to improve outcomes for people with disability, promoting inclusion and changing society’s attitudes. One recent example was becoming a founding member of Alliance20, a peak body focused on addressing issues arising from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Over the years, Sylvanvale has won many awards and accolades for its high-quality service and focus on inclusion. In the last year alone, Sylvanvale won Outstanding Community Services at the Sutherland Shire Local Business Awards in 2021 and our inclusive long day care centre – Mikarie Child Care Centre – was a finalist at the Australian Disability Service Conference Awards 2021.
Every day, our organisation demonstrates the extraordinary things that can be achieved by connecting and working together. Our continual focus on building and maintaining our relationships, investing in our systems, listening to the people we support and their families, utilising the profit-for-purpose business model and developing innovative projects are all key to helping us achieve our vision of supporting and empowering people with disability.
This approach has also enabled us to successfully manage enormous change and challenges throughout our 75 year existence – including the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), devastating bushfires and storms, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our enormous thanks to all the people we support, their families and carers, staff and supporters for being an integral part of Sylvanvale’s proud history. We look forward to continuing our exciting journey with you.