Access Community Education Services (ACES) provides day programs and support for people aged 18 to 65 with a disability. The programs offer recreational, leisure and educational activities designed to support families, develop individual and independent skills and create successful and enjoyable community interaction.
ACES began operation in 1992 as an auspice service of the Port Macquarie Neighbourhood Centre Incorporated.
The organisation was formed by a small group of parents who applied for funding to assist them to gain better resources and community access for their children leaving school. These parents could see the benefits of getting their teenagers out of the house, away from institutions and out into the community. They also realised that their families would be more functional if their son or daughter could become less dependent on institutions and high needs support services.
From these early days, the tradition of developing services based on personal experience and real needs was started. These needs include: the need for people to meet and socialise, the need for free time, the need for stimulation and creative outlet, the need to get out into the community and the need for carers to support each other.
In 2001, ACES became an incorporated association and set about developing ways to assist people with disabilities to achieve their maximum potential. Since then, the organisation has thrived and expanded. Today ACES provides day services which are engaging, fun, challenging and rewarding.
The majority of ACES support is in the Community, by creating inclusive and authentic living skill learning opportunities which include: access to shops and services, learning new sport activities, attending mainstream courses, participating in work placements at several businesses, volunteering with places like delivering meals on wheels, assisting in op shops, serving and cooking in the ACES run Hope Café, helping out at the Koala hospital, participating in the Bago magic drama group and looking after the local area with the environment group.
The service operates from the Fernhill Road property it purchased in 2006. Formerly a sizeable house, the property has been gradually modified, converted and expanded. Improvements have been, and continue to be, a ‘work in progress’ as the list of services grows.