The History of Cooma Challenge Limited
Behind the name Cooma Challenge Limited is a history that reflects the dedication and charity of a great many people from the local district in their goal to improve the quality of life of people with an intellectual or physical disability.
Our story began in 1954 when a group of parents formed a Cooma branch of the Subnormal Children's Welfare Association. Schooling for children with an intellectual disability was carried out in the church hall of St Paul's Anglican Church. The teaching was provided by volunteers until a teacher was finally appointed.
In it's own tenth year of operation the Snowy Mountains Authority (now Snowy Hydro) donated a building to the SCWA and moved it onto a block of land in Soho Street next to St Andrew's Uniting Church.
(Today that building houses the offices of Monaro Family Day Care, one of our many services.)
The Federal Government involved itself with the provision of accommodation for children and adults with a disability and training programs for adults with a disability.
It was also in the early '70s that parents and the local branch of Soroptomists started a sheltered workshop in Cooma East. At the workshop items were weighed and packaged for local businesses including the hospital.
Courses in cooking and woodwork were offered at the local TAFE.
At the site next to St Andrew's Uniting Church, Charmain Litchfield House (commonly known as Pine Lodge Hostel) was opened in recognition of the need for five-days-a-week accommodation for children with a disability from isolated areas.
Pine Lodge became redundant when the Department of Education took full responsibility for the education of children with a disability and the children began attending a special unit across the road at Cooma Public School.
The Federal Government offered a substantial grant toward the building of a new centre to house the sheltered workshop, an activity-training centre and offices. The centre was opened in 1983 on land that had formerly been Cooma East School.
The SCWA changed its name to Challenge Foundation of NSW and Cooma became a branch of this larger organisation.
Due to a further change in circumstances the Foundation broke up and became a chartered company in the middle of the year, operating under the name of Cooma Challenge Limited, with Caroline Peschek as Chief Executive Officer. It remains a registered charity.
Cooma Challenge Limited auspiced Monaro Interchange Respite Care - now known as Monaro Respite Care.
Cooma Challenge Limited was also successfully funded to offer the Children and Young Adults Disability Support Service (CYADSS).
Cooma Challenge Limited's administration and service coordinators moved into a cottage at 4 Vagg Street in the central business district, following a successful submission to the NSW Department of Corrective Services.
Cooma Challenge Limited's main office is still located at this site.
The organisation was again successful in gaining funding, this time through the Federal Department of Health and Ageing's National Respite for Carers Program. After gaining a second NSW Department of Corrective Services cottage, next door at 3 Vagg Street, Cooma Challenge Limited began to offer respite both at that cottage (Snowy Monaro Respite Cottage) and at the Cooma East site (Monaro Community Access / Day Program).
Monaro Family Day Care became the 19th service operating under Cooma Challenge Limited.
Cooma Challenge Limited became certified against ISO 9001:2008 International Quality Standards.
Having held the position of CEO for exactly 30 years in September, Caroline Peschek resigned from the role due to illness. Caroline passed away on 12 October.