Initially called the “Disabilities Resource Centre” an Incorporated Society was set up in the 1980’s by a group of people who saw the need for more information, advocacy and support to meet the needs of people with physical disabilities.
The premises of the newly formed Disabilities Resource Centre Trust at 143 King St (Whakatane District Council owned Allandale Homestead) was opened by the Honorable Michael Cullen in March 1989.
As in the early days, the DRCT remains client driven, with 50% of the governing body having a disability or being closely associated to someone that does.
Immediately following the opening, the DRCT was contracted by the Department of Social Welfare to administer its Attendant Care Scheme to the people of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. The scheme was co-ordinated by Mrs Dale Smith, the first employee of the Centre. It involved the provision of personal care to people with disabilities and formed the foundation of the Home Care Service we have today.
Gaining the Attendant Care Contract was one of the foundation blocks that has given the Disabilities Resource Centre Trust certainty and consistency of funding. The ability of the organisation during the early period to provide quality and accountable services gave the organisation the confidence to supply services under contract to Government agencies.
The demands of managing and providing information and advocacy within the DRCT increased to a level where it was necessary to employ permanent staff to take on the role of information and advocacy provision. Advocacy services have been a core part of the organisation since 1992.
Community networking now a part of Community Services was established in 1993 with a small contract from Midland Regional Health Authority. Vocational Training for people with disabilities funded by the Community Funding Agency was another new service established in 1994. Today the Community Service Team provides Disability Awareness, Vocational Training and Independent Living Services. Three people are employed as a result of Work and Income New Zealand, Disability Community Trust and the Ministry of Health.
The Disabilities Resource Centre Trust has been an advocate and an integral force in organising the bi-ennial Eve Rimmer Games for athletes with disabilities. The Eve Rimmer Games has grown hugely in popularity, showcasing the outstanding achievements and commitment of people with disabilities in a sporting environment – which is something the Disabilities Resource Centre Trust believes strongly in.