Bright fresh start for Sunnyfield

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It was a fittingly sunny day last Friday for the official opening of disability service provider Sunnyfield’s new centre at Orchard Hills.

Staff, clients and families were joined by NSW Premier Mike Baird for the official opening of the new centre, which has been relocated from Kingswood.

“We are very happy to be expanding our services in western Sydney,” said Sunnyfield CEO, Caroline Cuddihy.

“We did previously provide services in Kingswood but we outgrew the site. Now we will offer a range of services from our new centre here in Orchard Hills, so that people with disabilities can meet their own goals and aspirations.”

Sunnyfield will offer community based activities such as library and historical site visits, TAFE courses, music therapy, travel training, sport and cooking programs.

Board member and local St Marys resident Ian Fraser said that there is another community hub being opened in St Marys, with a training facility also operating at Mt Druitt.

“We have over 1,800 clients and 900 staff. We believe strongly in delivering active support. Over 50 per cent of our board members have a relative with a disability,” he said.

Sunnyfield Ambassador, Bryan Whiddon, spoke of how much it would mean to his family today to see how the disability service has grown, including his mother and Sunnyfield founder Hazel.

“In 1938 my brother was born and after a mishandling, suffered a brain injury. My parents searched high and low for a cure but were told there was none and so sent him to a boarding school,” Mr Whiddon said.

“Trevor finished there at about 15 years of age, but my parents found that there was no suitable work or schooling for him afterwards. My mother placed an ad in the Manly Daily to see if there were other parents in the same situation and they held a meeting at my parents’ house.

“They decided to form a community school and that’s how Sunnyfield started.

“Trevor remained a part of Sunnyfield until he died not that long ago.”

Premier Baird officially unveiled a plaque for the new centre and said that he was really pleased to see so many clients with smiling faces.

“We want you to know that we are very proud of your achievements,” he said addressing the crowd.

“There must be so much satisfaction being part of something so special. It’s amazing what can happen when people work together for a common goal and I want to acknowledge all the work that has been put in over the years to make Sunnyfield the service it is today.”

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