CLASS' Vision for the Future

Written on the 23 January 2014 by Karen Goldie

2013 has been an historic year for Community Living & Support Services (CLASS) Inc. as they mark their 30th year of providing services to people with a disability.  CLASS started from humble beginnings in 1983 in Strathalbyn and now also provide services in the Riverland, Kangaroo Island, South East and Adelaide Hills.  CLASS’ focus has always been on providing opportunities for clients to be supported in an environment near family and social networks.  People are often surprised to learn that CLASS now has a total staff of just over 250 who are employed to enable quality services to be delivered to 449 clients.

As CLASS celebrates its achievements and growth over the past 30 years, it is also looking towards the future.  Chief Executive, Mark Kulinski states “that with CLASS’ growth comes new challenges.

We have already outgrown our administration building on Sandergrove Road. The exciting launch of the NDIS also means that service gaps will be reduced and CLASS needs to look for new and innovative ways to support our client’s needs, circumstances and goals.  It is imperative that we enhance the support our clients receive from family, community and other services.”

Mark explains that CLASS is looking to secure a parcel of land on the Fleurieu Peninsula to establish ‘A Farm with CLASS’.  “Our vision is to create a working community farm to extend the quality of life for people living on the Fleurieu and provide an opportunity for many positive partnerships within the community” says Mark.  “We see the community farm concept as a practical solution to empower people to reach their potential in a learning environment.  The project would accommodate all groups of people with a desire to learn new skills; including people with a disability, young people, people who are older, people who are land poor and the unemployed.  This is a real opportunity to create a socially inclusive community in which all members feel valued and have the opportunity to participate fully and learn and pass on valuable life skills.”

Mark states, “A community farming model provides an opportunity for reciprocal partnerships within the community. Currently there is no other known program or facility similar to this model in the Fleurieu area; especially one that is accessible to people with disabilities while embracing local partnerships. A working farm will enable CLASS to offer richer and more rewarding opportunities to all involved by providing programs and networks to develop a whole range of new skills and experiences.  A rural setting facilitates opportunities for those who find it hard to engage in mainstream learning environments to develop skills in a secure and safe environment with fewer restrictions that are found within metropolitan areas.”

Mark adds “I see a Registered Training Organisation offering VET and Certificate courses in Agriculture, Horticulture, Catering & Disability studies from the site.  Mature members of the town can pass on traditional skills to young people.  I also see the people of the community gaining confidence through these new skills, becoming job ready, starting up new businesses and generating jobs.”

To bring this vision into reality, ideally CLASS would like to secure a parcel of land, which the community farm could operate from and also facilitate a local day options program.  A new purpose-built administration building could also be put on this site.  If you think you may be able to assist CLASS with their vision for the future, please contact Mark Kulinski directly 8536 5800.

 

For more information on CLASS Media Releases please contact:

Karen Goldie
Manager – Marketing
CLASS Inc.
08 8536 5800
0429 210 846
karen.goldie@classinc.com.au

Author: Karen Goldie

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