Who we are – TCL is a not for profit organisation in the small community of Atherton in North Queensland.  TCL provides support on an individual basis and in group settings for people with disabilities and/or mental illness to have opportunities that increase their connection and sense of belonging within their community.  This includes all types of community options that compliment a holistic lifestyle.  The support is negotiated between the person with the disability and/or advocate and the service.  Support Workers direct their efforts towards increasing the independence of the person with the ultimate aim of complete community interconnection wherever possible.

Vision – People with disabilities are welcomed, valued, accepted and have a sense of belonging within their community.  People with disabilities have the same rights as other community members in regards to everyday life experiences, opportunities and responsibilities.

TCL’s story so far….

It all began in 1994, when a group of parents of people with a disability started meeting to discuss what support options would be available for their children on the Atherton Tablelands.  These discussions were originally focused on supporting people with a disability to link into their community on the Tablelands which is where the name of the organisation came from.  After much community consultation and assistance from the then ‘Department of Family, Youth & Community Care’, funding was sought to start a small community linking support service for Tablelanders with a disability.  A small office in Tolga was located and Tableland Community Link Association Incorporated commenced operations in 1995.

The model of support at this time was based on ‘flow-through’ which meant each person would have a specific goal around community linking and once that goal had been achieved via support they would then become inactive and the service would commence supporting another person.

It soon became apparent that people who had higher and ongoing support needs were unable to access this type of flow-through model of support because they were always going to need assistance in some form or another.  So, throughout 1995 the Committee re-commenced community consultations to see what type of assistance was needed for people with disabilities who required on-going support to access their community.

In 1997, TCL gained funding to purchase and modify a Ford Transit Van for clients who used wheelchairs.  At the time it was the most up-to-date disability modifications on the market.  It wasn’t until 2007 that TCL staff realised how dated and cumbersome the external hoist and van had become when it was replaced by a Toyota Tarago with an internal ramp, air-conditioning throughout and modifications that were state of the art.

Between 1997 and 2010, Tableland Community Link received 39 individual funding packages to support people in both accommodation support and community linking. This funding was made up of: Post-School Support, Institutional Reform Support, Accommodation Lifestyle Support, Housing and Support for people with a psychiatric disability, support for people with a dual diagnosis of intellectual disability and a mental illness, support via the Family Support Program and support for privately funded clients via compensation payouts.

During 2009, Tableland Community Link successfully applied to provide support under the Flexible Respite service type.  In the same year, TCL was successful in gaining additional block support hours for people with a disability who had ageing parents and/or carers under the new flexi-respite service type.

Other achievements for TCL:

  • The ‘Wheelchair Rally’ was run in 2006 and 2008 as a community disability-awareness activity.
  • In 2001, due to the need for expansion TCL moved from it’s Tolga office to the current premises on Grove Street, Atherton.  This was originally a carrot packing shed and TCL renovated the building to its current configuration. This property (1 acre) was purchased by TCL in 2010.
  • TCL has remained true to its original vision and purpose, maintaining the philosophy that people with a disability have every right to the same opportunities as other community members.
  • 2009 saw the introduction of the Client Christmas Party which is now a well attended Annual event.
  • In 2010, TCL was offered free use of a room at the old primary school in the centre of Atherton by the Lions Club. This has been converted into an activity / drop-in centre for people with a disability and has been highly successful.  Clients enjoy music sessions, movie days, art and crafts, and group meetings. With assistance from their support workers they conduct their own monthly meetings and discuss and plan activities they want to do and be involved in in their community.  Other organisations that support people with disabilities or mental health issues in our community have also been invited to utilise it.
  • Our goal was to have an Activity Centre built on our land in Grove Street.  We started fundraising events.
  • Walk and Roll-athon first run in 2016, again in 2018.  Now a bi annual fundraiser.
  • Aug 2018 – we worked with Maize festival ambassador Sharee Andrew and held a Movie night. We hope to make this an annual/ biannual event.
  • The Grove opened in Nov 2018. A purpose built centre for our clients and others in the community. Read more about it here
  • In July 2019 NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) rolled out in Qld. All clients fully rolled into the NDIS scheme by March 2019.
  • 2019 – After much discussion with our committee and community groups preliminary planning commenced for a housing project focusing on challenges people with a disability or mental illness face with unsuitable on unavailable community or public housing.
  • 2019 Winner of the 2019 TRC Business Excellence Sustainability Contribution Award  –  Implements initiatives that have a positive community impact, particularly long-term environmental, social and/or community benefits &  Sustainability Contribution Award People’s Choice Award
  • 2020 THE GAP (Grove Accommodation project) enters design stage
  • 2020 – Covid-19 severely affect our organisations ability to provide supports to venerable community during lockdown. The Grove is utilised to provide scheduled 1:1 supports.