History

Established in Frankston in 1953, Connecting Skills Australia is one of the oldest disability services in Southern Victoria.

1950s

A group of parents establish a day care centre for children with disabilities as a minding service. Run by the parents on a voluntary basis at the local Methodist church, the service was then called “The Peninsula Retarded Children’s Welfare Association” and operated on 2 or 3 mornings a week.The service soon grew and in the mid-50s the parent’s group, with financial support from a government grant as well as the proceeds from several fundraising events, purchased their own premises.The site – 32 Cranbourne Road, Frankston – is still in use today for individual and group support.

1960s

As the popularity of the service grew, so the facilities expanded. Through fundraising and working bees, the Cranbourne Road premises were improved to include classrooms to enable learning and development. The centre was renamed ‘Woorinyan’, an aboriginal word meaning ‘love’ (although the name was not legally changed until the early 90s).

The 60s also saw the beginning of the Employment Services program. With a new workshop on site, the now young adults started making carpet sample books and Christmas cards in return for wages.

1970s

By now the centre had 83 trainees and 13 staff. The service is renamed in recognition of its services to people of all ages to “The Peninsula Retarded Citizen’s Welfare Association”.

Growth continues and the service now operates a Day Training Centre and Pre-Workshop Group along with an Employment Service located at the rear of the Cranbourne Road site in Joy Street, Frankston.

1980s

The service and centre is further developed and begins to offer living skills training.

1990s

In 1991 the name of the service was officially changed to Woorinyan Adult Training Support Service Inc. At this time, the Commonwealth-State Disability Agreement (CSDA) was introduced and funding for services was split between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories. In 1995 the name of the service changed again to Woorinyan Inc. to bring it in line with the CSDA and formalise the split between services.

2000s – present

In 2005 Woorinyan Inc. merged with Aspire Inc., an employment service located in Thomastown.

In 2008 major renovations and refurbishments were undertaken at the original Day Service site at 32 Cranbourne Road, Frankston.

In 2011 a new factory was purchased in Seaford for the Employment Service. The Joy Street site was sold in 2012 with Head Office relocated to a new site on Nepean Highway in Frankston. Another new factory was purchased in Thomastown to accommodate the expansion of the Employment Service.

Also in 2012, the name was changed from Woorinyan Inc. to Connecting Skills Australia

The service continued to expand in 2013 via amalgamations with Kankama Inc, Mornington and Moonya Community Services Inc, Wonthaggi and Transition to Employment program, Frankston and Oakleigh.

Connecting Skills Australia will continue to look for opportunities to expand its services across Australia.