PHOTOS

Big plans for newly launched Ability Network

With a new name and a new look, the recently launched Ability Network has big plans in the near future for the Cowra community.

Formerly known as Cowra Special Needs Service, Ability Network was officially launched last Wednesday night in front of clients, staff members, community members and special guests at the Cowra Services Club.

In what was arguably the highlight of the evening, the group announced plans for "Ability Farm", a state of the art facility for clients, carers and their families in a rural setting.

Ability Farm is set to include vegetable gardens, farm animals, sporting facilities, an outdoor cafe, indoor spaces for day programs with a focus on creative endeavours and activities, a gym space and an indoor pool for hydrotherapy.

Ability Network's chair, Natalie Caruana, said Ability Farm was partly inspired by the impact farm life had on her daughter.

"This lovely, amazing community and our farm became a haven for our family and especially for her, where she was able to shine and where her abilities were able to shine," she said.

"Five years ago when she passed, I endeavoured to give back to the communities, the people, the organisations that were there for us.

"I could see the benefits of having a special space and a special structure where each individual person will be the best person that they can be."

MsCaruana said Ability Network were "moments away" from having the keys to establish Ability Farm and more details will be available soon.

"It will be a completely different setting than where we reside at the moment," she said.

"Having a setting that is aesthetically pleasing, that is open, that has space, [where people can] enjoy being part of nature and rural community.

"This is not just a hope and a dream, this is a reality. We are so excited."

Councillor Judi Smith said the organisation had become an important service in Cowra.

"CSNS has been playing a vital role for the last 15 years in bettering the outcomes of people with disability and their carers and indeed some of the frail, elderly people in our community," she said.

"You not only have been working hard to achieve that aim of betterment, but you've also tried to make it lots of fun for people along the way.

"This launch has excitement, it has mystery.. it looks absolutely fantastic."

The evening also featured a cake cutting, a performance of John Williamson's "True Blue" by Cody Rayner, as well as awards for staff members Tom Downing, Maree Crowther, Kassie Graham, Jan Chivers, Barb Sheehy, Kristy Pollard and Jacqui Collingwood-Cusack.