Celebrating 50 Years of Employment at Packforce

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Dame Marie Bashir standing next to and holding the hand of her female cousin sitting in a wheelchair
 
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After 50 years in the same job, Narraweena resident Yvonne Grady still can’t wait to get to work each day.

“I love the camaraderie with everyone at my work, said Yvonne. “Everyone helps each other to do the best they can do.”

And to celebrate Yvonne’s 50 years working at Packforce, Cerebral Palsy Alliance held a morning tea in her honour. Long-time family friend and former Governor of Sydney, Professor the Hon Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, took time out of her busy schedule to join in the celebrations to acknowledge Yvonne’s hard work and commitment.

“Growing up with Yvonne, I have had a long association with Cerebral Palsy Alliance and seen first hand the wonderful work that they do,” said Professor Bashir. “The importance of enabling dignity, value and self-worth through employment for people with disabilities can not be understated. Yvonne should be very proud of her achievements, ” said Professor Bashir.

At 69 years young, Yvonne earns her bread and butter with a range of light assembly services, such as mail fulfilment and preparing conference bags, at Packforce – an initiative of Cerebral Palsy Alliance that provides employment and training for adults with cerebral palsy.

Yvonne’s cerebral palsy mainly affects her legs but that has not stopped her from getting the most out of her work and personal life. She lives in a townhouse in Narraweena with her beloved cat Cecily, a Burmese cross.

“Having a job has allowed me to be as independent as possible,” continued Yvonne. “I love the opportunity to go to work each day and assemble a variety of different things. I am really determined to do my best for all of our customers.”

Formerly known as Centre Industries, Packforce was established in 1961 to provide employment and training for adults with cerebral palsy.

“Packforce was an innovative business venture that, for the first time, moved away from the sheltered workshop model to an open, competitive operation where people with a disability worked alongside able-bodied people,” said Paul Henderson, Chief Operating Officer, Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

The first contract was to manufacture relay sets for telephone exchange junctions. Since then, Packforce has grown into a renowned service provider, employing 200 people, and utilised by businesses throughout NSW, with warehouses in Frenchs Forest and Wetherill Park.

“Every 15 hours, an Australian child is born with cerebral palsy. It is the most common physical disability in childhood. And with 60% of people with a disability unemployed, enterprises like Packforce are vital for the social and economic fabric of our communities,” continued Paul Henderson.

Today, some of Packforce’s satisfied clients include STAEDTLER, AFL NSW/ACT, Nestle and George Weston Foods (Abbot Village Bakery), who use Packforce not only because it will help make a difference to the life of someone with a disability, but because it makes good business sense.

“Packforce has from day one been extremely conscious of the need for STAEDTLER’s high level of quality to be maintained and have been nothing but professional in our dealings. I definitely encourage other businesses to consider Packforce for their fulfilment needs,” said Paul Cashman, Managing Director, STAEDTLER.