Welcome to The Flagstaff Group.
As a registered NDIS provider, Flagstaff offers a number of community programs and operates a number of businesses with the purpose of providing employment for people with a disability and encouraging a world that only sees abilities. Flagstaff’s social enterprises include:
- Print, Mail and Digital services
- Fine Foods – frozen meals
- Coffee with a Vision
- Commercial Laundry Services
- Paper to Paper – Recycling Collection Services and Secure Shredding
- Glove Laundering
- Packaging and Assembly
- Flagstaff Group Services including – Industrial products, Sewing, Woodwork and Lawn Mowing and garden maintenance.
Flagstaff’s NDIS division, Life Choices, offer a number of person-centred life skills pathways and activities for people with a disability.
Vision, Purpose and Values
Our Vision: A world that only sees abilities.
Our Purpose: To provide life skills and work for people with a disability.
- Support: We support our customers, staff and participants.
- Celebrate: We celebrate achievement and success.
- Lead: We lead by example to be the best in all that we do.
- Include: We include all as a right — not a privilege.
The Flagstaff Group is a supported disability employment enterprise. Through its business divisions, Flagstaff remains sustainable whilst bringing social benefits to employees and the community.
As a not-for-profit organisation, Flagstaff reinvests all profits back into the lives of people with a disability by providing entry opportunities into the workforce and life skills training.
- The organisation began when a Sydney organisation ceased funding one of their branch’s, called Civilian Lame and Limbless Association. A member of this organisation, Len Bland, took the 30 employees of this association and joined with the Australian Iron & Steel Ltd, later becoming BHP.
- Len Bland then established the organisation as The Wollongong Sheltered Workshops Association Limited. The first General Manager was Len J Bland and he held this position until 1979.
- The first business was located on the corner of Nolan Street and Princes Highway, Unanderra. Work consisted of general engineering, sewing, canvas and switchboard assembly. Tag painting and printing also joined this list of work shortly after.
- Over the next 13 years the business’ had access to the Steelworks, allowing employees to carry out construction work.
- Opened new Sheltered Workshop Premises on Flagstaff Road, Unanderra, by Sir Zelman Cowen, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on Wednesday 16 May 1979.
- H.J. Van Der Doe took over from Len Bland and was appointed General Manager. He held the position until 1984.
- A. Wilson was appointed CEO and remained in this position for two years.
- Flagstaff’s Residential Programme was established which offered short-term accommodation for employees through the purchase of a residential property and lease of a further two homes. The rented homes in Wollongong developed into emergency accommodation for employees, particularly those in a domestic emergency.
- The Workers Union was introduced. Flagstaff employees are still encouraged to join it today.
- Flagstaff entered discussion with the Miscellaneous Workers Union and was influential in establishing the first industrial award which would cover workers with disabilities. This award governed the wages and conditions of supported employees.
- 120 people celebrated the 20-year anniversary of The Wollongong Sheltered Workshops Association.
- Chris Gandy started as General Manager and introduced service awards.
- Changed name to Flagstaff Industrial and Commercial Services Group Limited
- Leisure and Coastal Canvas Supplies became an independent business unit due to its success. It offered tarps, tents, covers, back support belts and the “Quickswim” swimsuit for young children.
- During this time, light engineering began to grow, particularly in strapping steel and the sewing of truck covers and horse blankets.
- Flagstaff acquires Monika’s Kreative Kitchen in North Wollongong for a catering business and employs Monika. Soon after its name changes to Flagstaff Fine Foods.
- Document Management Solutions was established and officially opened by Hazel Hawke in Regent Street. This was a micrographics business developing microfilm documents for several local businesses. This business also included bulk distribution, printing and security document destruction.
- Flagstaff moves into a fifth operating division called Paper to Paper, originally located in Glastonbury Avenue, Unanderra. This came about after an examination of business opportunities in the Illawarra revealed a growing need for paper recycling.
- The control of Flagstaff’s Residential Programme transferred to the Illawarra Community Housing Trust.
- The Workers Committee was formed, from which one representative would attend each board meeting. The Committee gave employees a voice about concerns or possible changes to the CEO. It is known today as the Workers Representative Committee.
- Company name changed to The Flagstaff Group Limited as voted by employees.
- Flagstaff moves into its next commercial business venture with the purchase of Phoenix Laundry. Originally located in Russell Vale, it was moved into Flagstaff’s Nolan Street premises in Unanderra and changed its name to Flagstaff Laundry.
- Engineering services continues to grow and, as a result, the division moves to Doyle Avenue premises.
- The Gauntlet was purchased, which involved washing coal miners work gloves after use in order to reduce the negative environmental impacts of waste. This became part of the laundry operation, which washed and cleaned these gloves to a standard which meant they could be reused. d
- Flagstaff purchased The Mailing Professionals.
- Paper to Paper moved from Gladstonbury Avenue to 262 Nolan Street to accommodate the increased growth.
- Gaining of new accreditations of HACCP and the 12 Disability Service Standards.
- Flagstaff began to reach out to more diverse jobs for people with a disability as they Acquired BCH Printing.
- Birth of Flagstaff Print and Mail through the merger of The Mailing Professionals and BCH Printing
- Flagstaff took over management of Shoalhaven Advance Industries and Mullala Nursery.
- Engineering moved to 260 Nolan Street, Unanderra, as a result of the downsizing in the industry.
- Steve Beard appointed General Manger and was in this position until 2011.
- Flagstaff Fine Foods moves into a purpose-built facility at 254 Nolan Street, Unanderra. The facility had four walk-in freezers, a temperature-controlled production room, cool room and blast freezer. Additionally, a new packaging machine was introduced which provided better labelling and bar-coding.
- Document Scanning division was formally established and offered secure document destruction.
- The birth of Flagstaff Shoalhaven. Shoalhaven Advanced Industries was brought under the Flagstaff family in 2005, then officially became Flagstaff Shoalhaven in 2008.
- Flagstaff’s Mullala Nursery transitions to Yumaro Industries at Ulladulla, another Australian Disability Enterprise.
- Roy Rogers appointed CEO, having served as Chief Operating Officer since 2005.
- Flagstaff begins to focus on skills development and the importance of gaining fundamental work skills through programs such as Flagstaff Vocational Pathways and Flagstaff Workskills.
- Flagstaff Recycling sees the installation of a weighbridge for their trucks.
- Coffee with a Vision was established where all coffee is roasted and packed onsite at 254 Nolan Street, Unanderra.
- Began running Café Vizione located inside the Port Kembla steelworks.
- The Flagstaff Group established a key partnership with TAFE NSW to offer nationally recognised Certificate II Courses to employees.
- Transition to Work Program established to offer school-based training program providing students access to hands-on work experience in a supportive business environment.
- Branched into offering Mobility Aids to supply affordable healthcare equipment Australia-wide. Equipment offered includes scooters, walking sticks, ramps, wheelchairs, bathroom safety products and more.
- Flagstaff cuts the ribbon on a new $3.6 million commercial laundry featuring state-of-the-art automation technology. Government funding and overwhelming demand from customers bolstered the laundry division’s capacity to up to 240 tonnes.
- Flagstaff now trades seven main social enterprises, offering services to the Illawarra and Shoalhaven areas and proudly employing over 275 people with disabilities.
- Flagstaff moves into the Flagstaff Studio at 7-11 Flagstaff Road, Port Kembla (the old Bluescope Medical Centre)
- Flagstaff acquires new premises at 26 Norfolk Ave South Nowra
- Flagstaff develops its first two Apps on Emergency Planning and the Non Verbal Communicator and becomes the first disability led organisation to develop tools for emergency planning and resilience.