The George Gray Centre has been part of the Gippsland community for over 50 years and is vital source of support for people with a disability, their parents and carers. The organisation prides itself on having been a strong advocate for disability issues and raising awareness across the Gippsland region.
Our story began back in 1957, where Sister Flora Johns was the catalyst behind the idea to develop a service for children with an intellectual disability and through her determination, and with assistance from a fund raising committee, the idea was born.
A residential service was established in 1975 and an Adult Training Service was completed and occupied in 1977 and consequently Kyndalyn was taken over by the education department and became a Special Development School in 1978. It left its Maffra premises in October 1985 and moved to new buildings in Sale. Initially known as Jerendine Special Development School, it later became the Sale Specialist School.
The Adult Training Service was later named the George Gray Centre Inc. after Councillor George Gray who had a significant role in its establishment and later the North Gippsland Trust was established to raise funds for the facility.
There have been many projects established by GGC over the years none more innovative than the establishment of a farm in 1986 which provided hydroponically grown vegetables and fruit.
The later development in 1987 of a Café and Garden Service have were extremely beneficial to many participants encouraged to move on from the Day Service. It provided them with the opportunity to develop valuable work skills and a further source of income. It also provided them with an opportunity to develop their social skills. Unfortunately due to COVID 19 and funding challenges the cafe was unable to continue to operate.
Another major accomplishment was in 2004 our employment service (Foster Place) attained certification against the requirements of the Disability Employment Services Quality Management System (DESQA) under the guidance of Majella Laws and then later in 2011 QA Officer Gary Pleming played a major role in ensuring our Day Service also attained certification in relation to the Disability Services Victoria Standards. These continuing certifications have ensured GGC maintains a high standard in service provision for persons with a disability and is a tribute to the dedication of all staff.
It was during a ten year period, 1995-2005 that then Director Marie Ross established a secure financial foundation for the organisation. She was also assisted by dedicated staff who facilitated many fundraising events. The financial stability of the organisation under the direction of Marie enabled the service to later expand into the township of Sale where we have established the Wellington Community Connect Facility (a second day service). The Maffra centre was officially opened in 2013 by the Federal Member for Gippsland Mr Darren Chester.