Where We Came From

by Matthew Vierboom

1983 - 1989

A group of parents of children with a disability formed a support group at the then Grosvenor Hospital in Summer Hill. One of the main goals was to see children with disabilities integrated into mainstream day care and preschool facilities. A year later they held their first management committee meeting. In 1984 the group moved their base to the Community Health Centre of the Western Suburbs Hospital; a vacant building within the hospital grounds would eventually be made available for their use. ‘Family Resource and Network Support’ was registered as a charity in 1985 and a year later the organisation was incorporated as an Association. The first vacation care program for children was established in 1986. Today, School Holiday Activities remain a cornerstone of our services.

1990 – 1995

The decade began with a name change, and a move to new premises on 29 Albert Crescent in Croydon. This move was to be relatively short-lived. In 1991 FRANS received funding from the Commonwealth for Home and Community Care (HACC) for a pilot program call ‘Respite Options’. By the end of 1992 the organisation had a new logo and had moved yet again; this time to Croydon Park Public School. A major re-structure took place in 1995, in an attempt to take account of, and accommodate the organisation’s significant growth. One of the significant changes was the development of ‘Service Teams’ to coordinate service delivery.

1996 – 2000

The late 1990’s saw some significant changes to program structure, including greater formalisation in line with Government programs and funding structures, the legacy of which can be seen in many of our current programs. In 1997 FRANS was approved by the NSW Government as a ‘Post School Options’ provider and the first intake of what were then termed ‘service users’ commenced the following year. Prior to 1997 FRANS had offered two segregated centre-based vacation programs. These programs evolved into a ‘Community Access’ children’s service. 1997 also saw the development of the video “Everyone Can Play”, which was inclusive of children with a disability. This was followed by the 1999 video production ‘Out and About’, a video about Community Access for people with a disability. In 1999 FRANS became a designated service provider for the Inner West Carer Respite brokerage funds, for short term 24 hour respite care. This was followed in 2000 by funding for a Flexible Respite Options program.

2001 – 2005

Further refining of programs took place in the early 2000s. The Everyone Can Play manual was developed for Family Day Care; key program areas were restructured; the Policy and Procedures Manual and Mission Statement were formally reviewed; and the website was developed and launched. Among the key program areas restructured were Community Access for adults, teens, and children; the Inclusion Program for Out Of School Hours, Post School Options and Family Day Care; and the Individual Respite program. In 2003 FRANS celebrated its 20 year anniversary and in 2005 moved to the premises at Edwin St North, Croydon.

2006 – 2010

2007 was a busy year for the organisation. A strategic plan was developed and guided organisation initiatives and activities; a new program area – ‘Flexible Short Breaks’ for older parent carers was implemented; and The Dick Conroy Award of Excellence for office staff was implemented. In 2008 Croydon House was rented to support our Independent Living and Respite programs.


In March 2017, FRANS has changed its name to Participate Australia Limited with a view of true reflection of the organisation we want to be; one with a focus on human rights and self-direction.