Sustainability Report 2010
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Westfield Community Program

Case Study - Australia

Westfield Community Program

Supporting Children with Disabilities and their Families

In recent years, Westfield undertook research to identify a cause in the community which it could support in a meaningful way. After a lengthy review of the diverse groups it had been assisting, along with consultation with major charities, agencies, leading academics and its own staff, the Group identified a gap in the disability sector with little corporate support. 

As a result, the Westfield Community Program was established in 2008 to provide support to children with disabilities and their families by providing funds for therapy; equipment; respite programs to provide much-needed time for families and carers; early intervention programs to deliver early diagnosis and treatment to young children; and programs to inform and educate the community.

The Westfield Community Program currently supports over 30 not-for-profit organisations across Australia. 

“ In 12 years my wife and I have not had the opportunity to spend personal time together due to our daughter’s disability. We greatly appreciate the ‘common sense’ approach to providing care for our daughter. The Westfield Relax & Recharge program has allowed us to attend a dancing class together every Friday night while a trusted friend cares for our daughter. I applaud the program, it has truly revitalised our family.....” 

Comment from a family participating in the Relax & Recharge Respite Program. 

2010 Initiatives

Programs funded in 2010 include:

  • structured after school program for children with disabilities;
  • education programs using music, arts, water activities and play-based skill groups to meet the individual learning needs and abilities of children with disabilities;
  • respite and recreational camps for children with a disability and their siblings;
  • respite program for families
  • early intervention program to deaf and hearing impaired children.
  • Just Like You!, an in-school disability awareness education program. 

Relax & Recharge Respite Program

Westfield provided funds to Cerebral Palsy Alliance (formerly known as The Spastic Centre) to expand their Relax & Recharge respite program. The program provides parents and primary carers with the opportunity to take a well earned break from their caring role. But the program is quite unique in that the family has significant flexibility in the way they can plan and coordinate their respite care to use close friends, extended family members and people from the family’s informal networks as well as a staff member from a registered care agency. 

The Relax and Recharge program has supported a total of 161 families in the 18 months to December 2010. It operates across NSW including regional areas such as Hunter and Far North Coast. The program has received very positive feedback about the direct benefit for families. The flexibility allows families to feel in control and to use the funds to meet their needs in the way that is best for their circumstances.