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Endeavour Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation supporting people with a disability in more than 4,000 placements from more than 230 locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Endeavour Foundation is one of Queensland’s oldest charities, founded in 1951 by a group of parents who refused to accept their children with an intellectual disability couldn’t be educated.
Endeavour Foundation was founded in 1951 by a group of parents of children with an intellectual disability. Initially called the Queensland Sub-Normal Children's Welfare Association, the group received the patronage of Sir Fred Schonell, the first Professor of Education and later Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland. Schonell was Endeavour Foundation's first President and extended his research interest in education for people with a disability by creating the Remedial Education Centre (now known as the Fred and Eleanor Schonell Special Education Research Centre), one of the first of its kind in the world.
In its first two years of operation, the organisation registered 300 children with an intellectual disability. The Association's first school and support group were established in a member's home, but moved to a large property in Bowen Hills in Brisbane in 1955. Endeavour Foundation's Head Office, one regional office and a non-vocational day service were previously based at the location, now known as Schonell House in Jordan Terrace, which was sold to property developer BMI Group in the late 2000s and has since been onsold.
By 1954, the Association had grown beyond Brisbane, with the formation of the first regional sub-committees in Toowoomba and Ipswich. The organisation continued to expand rapidly, opening its first service for adults, a workshop in Bowen Hills and its first accommodation service in Toowoomba in 1964.
In 1982 the Association voted to enact a change of name from the Queensland Sub-Normal Children's Welfare Association to Endeavour Foundation, reflecting a change in societal attitudes towards people with a disability and the organisation's growth.
By 1984 Endeavour Foundation had grown to provide services to 3,440 people in 19 non-vocational day services for adults, 25 schools, 12 workshops, 6 farms, 34 adult residential homes, 24 group homes and 13 clinics across the state. In 1986 the provision of education to children was taken over by the Queensland Department of Education, and Endeavour Foundation's focus moved to support for adults.
Through the 1980s and 1990s Endeavour Foundation continued to grow, despite recognition that the organisation was losing thousands of dollars per week through the provision of services to people without individualised funding packages by the Queensland Government. This resulted in the shedding of major property assets by the organisation, and the movement and closure of some services.
Currently, Endeavour Foundation is divided into five geographical Areas for administrative purposes, North (incorporating Far North Queensland down to Townsville), Central (Bundaberg down to Gympie), Sunshine Coast, South East (including Brisbane and the Gold Coast) and South West (from Ipswich west to the Northern Territory border). The organisation is managed by Chief Executive Officer David Barbagallo and senior management, guided by an elected Board of Directors.
Endeavour Foundation has ten Area Committees made up of Endeavour Foundation members. The committees provide feedback on policy and services, build community links and vote on elected members of the Board.
In September 2009 Endeavour Foundation acquired Cumberland Industries of western Sydney, providing employment for a further 610 people with a disability; making Endeavour Foundation the largest non-government provider of direct disability employment in Australia.
In December 2013 Endeavour Foundation acquired Bay Support Services Group in Hervey Bay. Bay Support Services went into voluntary liquidation and the state government asked Endeavour Foundation to take over the operations of Bay Support Services, securing the support of 68 people with a disability and 230 staff positions.
In January 2014 Endeavour Foundation merged with Victorian supported employment service VATMI Group. VATMI http://www.vatmi.com.au/ was the largest employer of people with a disability in Victoria, with 4 locations. VATMI Packing has facilities in Kew and Keon Park, and Recycling facilities in Bendigo, Wangaratta and Stawell.
Endeavour Foundation currently provides more than 4,000 placements from more than 230 locations in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, with more than 1,800 staff members. Most service users are adults with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, Fragile X syndrome and non-specific intellectual disabilities. Endeavour Foundation is the largest non-government provider of direct community services (to any group) in Australia.
The Disability Services arm of Endeavour Foundation provides opportunities and supports for people with a disability to live in residential accommodation and homes; respite accommodation, with home and community support (supporting people to live semi-independently in their own homes); assisted holidays; and non-vocational day services which provide education, activities and life skills through Latch On®, CLUE - Continued Learning for Under 30s at Endeavour and Learning & Lifestyle.
Innovative program Latch On®, developed in partnership with the University of Queensland, provides a continued education opportunity in computer, literacy and technology for young people with a disability. Learning & Lifestyle support services provide people with a disability access to complete Certificate II modules and courses. In 2013 twelve people make history becoming the first Latch-On® graduates to obtain a Certificate II in Literacy & Technology in Australia.
Endeavour Foundation is Australia’s largest employer of people with a disability. Employment activities include quality-accredited food and pharmaceutical packaging, metal fabrication, industrial sewing, confidential document destruction, recycling, and timber product manufacturing.
The Business Solutions arm of Endeavour Foundation supports people to find and retain integrated employment in the general workforce, and through the provision of specialist employment and training in supported employment. People with a disability in Endeavour Foundation's Business Services are involved in the manufacture of timber furniture and other wood products, safety products, mailing, collating and packing services (including food and pharmaceutical packaging), document destruction, industrial cleaning cloths, e-recycling, industrial sewing, agriculture (through nurseries, farms and orchards), as well as Kingaroy Fine Foods, selling a large and delicious range of home-style jams, chutneys, biscuits, etc.
In 2013 Endeavour Foundation opened a $3.8 million fully accredited food packaging facility in Wacol, Brisbane, providing employment, training and support to 221 people with a disability.
Shops and Products
Endeavour Foundation runs 38 Endeavour Recycled Clothing Stores in Queensland and New South Wales, originally known as Endo's, as well as an online eBay store. These stores sell new and recycled clothing, furniture, books, bedding and bric-a-brac.
Kingaroy Fine Foods, which provides employment and training opportunities for 27 supported employees in the South Burnett region, produce hampers, preservative-free chutneys, marmalades, jams, biscuits and cakes available for purchase.
Endeavour Foundation has partnered with local Queensland councils to manage recycling facilities and tip shops. There are currently six Endeavour Foundation tip shops that salvage and sell household items and furnishings, collectables, books and toys, sporting equipment etc.
Endeavour Foundation holds several high-profile annual fundraising events, such as the Great Endeavour Rally, which has been running for over 25 years, the 500 km Team Endurance Relay, and an annual Gala.
Endeavour Foundation has been raising funds from lotteries for more than 40 years. Ten prize homes are raffled annually. The funds raised through lotteries go directly towards Endeavour Foundation's self-funded At Home With Choices program, which constructs homes with a maximum of four bedrooms for people with a disability.
Criticism and controversy
Endeavour Foundation has been subject to some criticism for its large size, conservatism, and influence on government policy. Since 2000, the organisation has been shedding property assets and closing some services.
In 2000 and 2001 Endeavour Foundation attracted major controversy when it decided to cut case management services, with some staff discovering their positions had been made redundant through the press. In 2004 Endeavour Foundation was again subject to criticism for its decision to cut the Specialist Services team, an innovative service supporting staff to support service users with challenging (aggressive and assaultive) behaviour, only to announce in October 2005 that it would be reinstating the staff support service in a reduced form (though the employment of Disability Advisors) and combining abuse response and advocacy functions.