Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

A Proud History; Summerland House Celebrates 40th Birthday

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

A Proud History; Summerland House Celebrates 40th Birthday

Article excerpt

ALSTONVILLE'S Summerland House Farm proudly celebrates 40 years of service this year and will celebrate with a giant party at the Summerland House Farm Country Fair on September 16.

The farm's amazing achievements and outstanding service to the community over four event-filled decades is something definitely worth celebrating, and the employees and service users of this vital organisation just can't wait for the party to start.

The farm has a long and interesting history as a business of an award-winning national disability organisation, House With No Steps.

Summerland House Farm was first established in 1972 as a regional operation for House With No Steps, which had been founded by Lionel Watts in Sydney some 10 years earlier.

Lionel contracted polio in the late 1950s before the vaccine became readily available for people of all ages, and as a result of his illness was left a quadriplegic.

If not hit with enough tragedy, Lionel had to also accept that his physical limitations affected his income and career.

Despite being a highly intelligent and ambitious executive before his illness, Lionel discovered that society in the 1950s and 1960s did not know how to accommodate a person with a disability in the workplace and he was told to never work again.

Not to be defeated, Lionel was determined to change the way society dealt with disabilities and dedicated his life to creating opportunities for people in similar situations. …

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