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History of Noah’s

Noah's New Centre in Nowra

Noah’s New Centre in Nowra

Noah’s Inclusion Services offers flexible, high quality services to children and young people with special needs and caring support to their families. Over more than 33 years, Noah’s has grown from a toy library operating from the verandah of a small cottage to a vital centre for the Nowra community, providing services for around 900 children per year. We support families and we listen to our community. We strive to provide family-centred, evidence-based intervention for children and young people and their families, and to celebrate the diversity and dignity of children of all apparent levels of ability.

In 2015 Noah’s moved to a new premises located at Building 303, Shoalhaven Campus, University of Wollongong, George Evans Road, Mundamia (West Nowra) and in 2016 opened the Noah’s Mundamia Early Learning Centre offering extended hours placement for all children in the Shoalhaven.

See the WIN News video presentation of our Grand Opening on the Noah’s Facebook page.

Small beginnings

Noah’s was established in Nowra in 1977 by a small group of families as an offshoot of a Canberra service. It’s original name was ‘Noah’s Ark Centre for the Handicapped’ and it functioned primarily as a toy library, providing toys for children in the area with special needs.  The toys were mainly supplied by a mobile van from Canberra Toy Library and initially the library was situated on the verandah of a small cottage.

A safe and friendly place for families

Over time as the toy library’s activities broadened, Noah’s became a friendly and un-intimidating environment where parents of children with special needs could meet, not only to borrow toys, but to discuss mutual problems with other families and trained personnel. The toy library transformed, through the involvement of parents and community members, from a toy library into a centre for children with disabilities and their families.  This type of service had not been available in the Nowra area to this point. After some difficult times, including the Canberra Toy Library’s withdrawal of support due to financial limitations, Noah’s became incorporated in 1981 and submissions to the Department of Youth and Community Services  for a co-ordinator, occupational therapist and rent subsidy, were successful.  Noah’s Ark Centre of Shoalhaven was born.

Growing with the community

At this time, Noah’s moved into its current premises on the corner of Worrigee and Osborne Streets, Nowra. Substantial support, both financial and in-kind, from local doctors Bill and Pat Ryan enabled Noah’s to continue providing services from this location. The Worrigee Street site was purchased by Shoalhaven City Council in 1985   following the receipt of a grant from the Commonwealth Government of $285,000.  This grant enabled Noah’s to remain at Worrigee Street along with the establishment of a long day care centre, Jumbunna, on jointly shared grounds. As a result of this project, Noah’s was able to share a landscaped play area and the new carpark. During 1986, Noah’s approached Shoalhaven City Council to carry out extensions and major renovations to make the building more compatible with the community’s needs.  Major renovations were also undertaken in 1998 to again bring the building up to standards and meet the changing needs of Noah’s families.

Growth beyond Nowra

A major restructure of the organisation in 1994 enabled Noah’s services to expand further and reflect the needs of the rural communities in the wider Shoalhaven area. In addition to group sessions for children with special needs and the continued operation of the toy library, Noah’s services expanded to include an assessment and early childhood teacher, therapy playgroups, a parent reference library, counseling services, consultancy services, resource and teaching centre of students and speech therapy assistance. In January 2000 Noah’s received a grant from Department of Education Training and Youth Affairs which enabled the organisation to build a second centre in Ulladulla which is located at 158 Green Street, Ulladulla.  The building is a joint venture with Shoalhaven City Council and as well as housing Noah’s Shoalhaven, is home to Ulladulla Family Support Service and Ulladulla Family Day Care. Noah’s now provides a range of services in Nowra as well as outreach services to Ulladulla and Wreck Bay.

Noah’s today and in the future: a vibrant and vital community organisation

Noah’s has expanded dramatically in the past few years with multiple programs being offered to children with disabilities in the Shoalhaven and their families. Noah’s Shoalhaven has funding from NSW Government, Community Services Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC), NSW Government, Community Services,  NSW Government Education and Communities, Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FACSIA), NSW Health, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health Network, Sponsorship and of course, fundraising. The Centre currently services around 900 children per year with approximately 230 of these children accessing services on a weekly basis.

Various programs available under the following categories:

  • Education and Therapy Services for children and young people
  • Parent and Family Support
  • Behaviour Support
  • Aboriginal Partnerships
  • Early Childhood Services Support
  • Early childhood education and care centre

Click here for more details on our services and programs.