A PLACE to call home – Gateways Support Services lays out its vision for inclusion

Gateways Place Graphic (6)

Our new home has a new name! Gateways Support Services staff and Board took time considering a name to best capture our vision for the sprawling North Geelong headquarters. It is a vision firmly focused on enabling Positive Lives And Community Engagement, making Geelong Community PLACE the perfect name to describe what we stand for, our strategic direction for the next three years and our intentions for this inclusive, multi-purpose, community focused destination.

Gateways Support Services Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Gunn says providing services and opportunities under one roof for people with autism, intellectual disability and complex needs alongside opportunities for all members of our community is at the core of our mission.

‘The quality of our services has been built over many years on listening and responding to the needs of our clients and families,’ Stephanie says.

‘Our Strategic Plan for the next three years also comes from listening to the needs of our clients, our families and our community, and the passion of our staff. All have asked for an inclusive, welcoming PLACE offering multiple activities and services in a one-stop-shop.’

Geelong Community PLACE at Thompson Rd is central to the Strategic Plan, which outlines Gateways Support Services’ map to active inclusion and skill development for people with disability at every stage of their journey supported by and celebrated by the community that wraps around us.

Gateways Support Services President Dr Bernie Jenner says the name and Strategic Plan go to the heart of the organisation’s purpose to improve the lives of people who have a disability or additional need and their families.

‘Through the development of this plan Gateways’ Board, Management Team and all staff have had a say in how we will continue our mission to empower the people we support to maximise their quality of life, potential and positive relationships,’ Bernie says.

The Strategic Plan will focus on four major priorities over the next three years:

Enabling Positive Lives

  • Offering families a range of connected services to support their life journey from early years to independence,
  • Building and sharing our expertise in supporting those with autism, intellectual disability and complex needs,
  • Creating opportunities for growth and independence through the best therapy space in Barwon, training and skills development,

Driving Community Engagement

  • Growing partnerships, connections and community opportunities in all our locations – from Portland, to Footscray,
  • Strengthening supports and knowledge building for families and carers,
  • Establishing our Community and Participant Reference Groups to better understand changing needs and create shared solutions.

Investing in Our People

  • Remaining the employer of choice and offering greater flexibility for staff to apply their skills and passions across the whole organisation,
  • Investing in skills development for all staff,

Building Sustainability of our Practice

  • Being responsive to the needs of our clients,
  • Driving a range of corporate and governance reforms,

Gateways Support Services is already working with like-minded community groups and business to share the space and opportunities offered by Gateways Community PLACE Geelong.

Stephanie says that while PLACE is a simple name, it is filled with meaning.

She says PLACE not only describes Gateways’ physical locations in Geelong, Warrnambool, Footscray and Werribee, but also what happens there.

‘For our clients and families we want to ensure the name carries that positive association of being a happy place, a safe place, a quiet place; the starting place for assessments, the place where activities are, the training place, the meeting place,’ she says.

‘It captures our commitment to be a part of our communities; to be an active contributor to building a stronger, kinder, more integrated and above all else an inclusive community that welcomes, embraces and celebrates everyone’s contribution.’

Contribute your ideas about what you’d like to see at Geelong Community PLACE to community@gateways.com.au or call 5221 2984.