In the late 1980’s the need arose to provide support for members with disabilities in the congregations of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. The Free Reformed Association Assisting Those with Special Needs committee was formed in 1989. This initiative was set up with the assistance of a group of church deacons from within the various congregations of the Free Reformed Churches.
In 1992 a home maker and companion were employed to support a young lady in a rented home in Armadale. In 1993 two other young people moved in this home which thus became a group home. The Association then appointed a Supervising Social Trainer for this group home. The members of the association were asked to suggest a meaningful and appropriate name for the home. After collating all the responses, the name Eucalypt was adopted.
The name Eucalypt is derived from the Australian Eucalyptus tree meaning well covered. The flower of the eucalyptus tree has a cap to cover and protect it. Likewise, the Eucalypt clients are well covered, well protected and well cared for. In 1994 a house on Railway Avenue, Armadale was purchased which became known as the Eucalypt Home. With the growing need to provide quality support for people with disabilities, a neighbouring property (425 Railway Avenue) was purchased in 2001 to cater for future use. The Association then also commenced out of home care. Since the purchase of the home many renovations and additions have been made.
In-Home services commenced in 2004 as a separate arm of operations. With this service the clients live in their own home and receive caring support from Eucalypt. This service discontinued in 2015 due to changes in funding regulations.
In 2007 a Director was appointed to oversee all the activities of the Association. The Association employs full time, part time and casual employees to enable support for 24 hours a day care, seven days a week. In 2008 the need arose to have a combined form of transport for clients. A group of association members took it upon themselves to raise funds to purchase a small bus.
Workplace and Training (WP&T) services commenced in 2009 at 425 Railway Avenue, Armadale. In 2012 it was relocated to a factory on Keates Road in Armadale. These premises have been renovated to become a suitable work environment. This arm of operations extends services to those who no longer attend school and are not able to work in open employment without support. The program is a combination of life skills training, work skills training and supported employment. Another aspect within the program is working offsite doing contract work with support as required.
In April 2015, the Alternatives to Employment program (ATE) was moved from the WP&T centre and continued at the home on Railway Avenue. This activity has been renamed Day Program and is covered by support funding. The basis of this program is to increase participants’ awareness of and participation in creation and their responses to it, so that they can glorify God. Another part of this program is community involvement.
The implementation of the NDIS commenced in 2016. The NDIS takes a flexible, whole-of-life approach working with participants, their families and carers, to develop individualised plans. The NDIS provides participants with more choice and control over how, when and where their supports are provided. It also provides certainty that they will receive the support they need over their lifetime. With the implementation of the NDIS the opportunity arose for Eucalypt to apply for registration as a service provider. Many hours of work were dedicated to the registration process, with changes in policies and procedures required to meet the standards. With thanks to our Heavenly Father, approval for registration as a service provider was granted to Eucalypt on 24th November 2017.
Resulting from a change in the Associations Incorporation Act (2015) and a review of the association’s rules and constitution, the decision was made in September 2017 to change the name to Free Reformed Eucalypt Association Inc.
The Association set up a local chapter in Albany in 2008, at the request of the Albany Support Group and association members of Albany. The Albany Support Group was an informal group providing information and support to families who had children with disabilities. For some years already Eucalypt had been providing support and employees for workplace and training activity, and with further development in purchasing a property, it was deemed time to set up a formal chapter in that place. In 2016 the Albany local chapter became a separate incorporated association and commenced operating under the name Eucalypt Albany (Inc.).