Karden Disability Support Foundation to merge with Melba Support Services!

Karden today announced that it would be merging with Melba Support Services, based in Lillydale.

Chair of Karden Disability Support Foundation, Ms Daina MacLeod said “Karden and Melba share a very similar mission, philosophy and values that focus on respect, treating people with dignity and human rights. This is one of the main reasons we have chosen to merge”.

Rachael Jones, CEO of Karden Disability Support Foundation said “This is not the first time that Karden and Melba have worked together. We were jointly awarded a Government tender in 2015 to provide support to the clients of the Sandhurst Centre. Melba is an excellent fit for Karden and the merger will enable us to expand the services we provide, Melba has been a leader in the disability services sector for the last 44 years. We are thrilled to be joining an organisation with such extensive experience and alignment of values and purpose”.

Continuity of services for existing clients of both organisations is guaranteed. The organisations have undergone an extensive due diligence process and the Boards of the two organisations have resolved to complete the merger by 1 July 2017.

Download the Frequently Asked Questions here: frequently-asked-questions-re-merger-with-melba

Download the full media release here: media-release-stronger-disability-services-in-victoria-through-merger

Wrap Up for SNAP Arts and Disability 2016

The Snap Festival is over for 2016 and has garnered some great support via the media, you can check out the hashtag #snapfestivalballarat on our Instagram and facebook. Whilst we will gear up and work towards the next iteration of Snap, we need to have a little rest first.

In summary the 10 day festival saw:

  • A disability led production.
  • Over 100 artists with disability were involved in creating and presenting work at the festival.
  • 300+ artworks exhibited with 70% of content available for sale purchased.
  • Mainstream media exposure in print, radio and screen.
  • Extraordinary local community attendance for homebased theatrical and music based events.
  • High engagement of mainstream audience via social media.
  • Platform for emerging and established artists with disability to meet, see each others work and make future connections.

Some links to some significant media coverage for the event:



SNAP Arts and Disability Festival

October, 2016

In November 2016 Ballarat will host SNAP Arts and Disability Festival, with some significant support from the Australia Council for the Arts.  All artists with disability, agencies supporting people with disability and inclusive arts organisations wanting to be kept informed of and contributing to the growth of this local event are invited to attend regular stakeholder meetings. The next one is Wednesday the 29th July – 3.30pm-4.30pm at Karden/Arthur Office, 35 Mair Street, Ballarat. All welcome.

SNAP – Arts and Disability Festival will be held at the Ballarat Mining Exchange 12 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, 3350 from 25th November – 4th December 2016.

It’s a 10 Day event held in Regional Victoria showcasing artists with disability from across Australia (and showcasing ours!!).  A series of theatrical performances, artist talks, workshops and visual art exhibit’s. This new inaugural festival providing a platform to showcase local works from emerging and established artists with disability alongside some invited product from around Australia giving national representation of arts and disability. Artists from across Australia from different stages of practice will together create an environment to build new audiences for all involved, create peer to peer professional development opportunities provide a solid base for future collaborations helping build stronger product for the national and international market.

Our artists work will all be showcased in this event as part of this festival. But if families, support people or anyone you know from outside our service who may wish to get involved please let them know about the meetings.

When: Meetings held fortnightly from June 1st – 16th November (inclusive) at 3.30 – 4.30.   Fortnightly meetings – drop in and out when suits. The same agency or group rep is not needed to commit to full schedule. Meetings held at Karden/Arthur Office.

Ballarat in Starting Line-Up for NDIS 

Karden Disability Support Foundation has today welcomed news that Ballarat and the Central Highlands region will be in the first year roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Federal and State Government’s announcement means that from January 2017, individuals with disability will be able to choose how they allocate their own disability support funding.

CEO of Karden Disability Support Foundation (KDSF), Karen Robinson said, “the roll out of the NDIS throughout Ballarat and the Central Highlands region will revolutionise the provision of disability support services in this region”.

“The NDIS is a significant reform, that will put individuals with disability and their families in the driving seat to make decisions and allocate funding based on the person’s needs and aspirations”.“The NDIS will enable people with disability to live their best life and reach their goals, and we believe that is a fundamental right of everyone”.

“We have advocated strongly for Ballarat’s early inclusion in the rollout and we are delighted to be in the Year One program”.

Ms Robinson said, “Ballarat’s inclusion in the Year 1 program speaks to the capacity of Karden and the sector to provide disability services based on the new funding model”.

“At Karden, we pride ourselves on providing real choice in programs, activities and supports for people in the Ballarat and Central Highlands region with living disability”.

“We are already geared up and ready to help people living with disability to live their best life under the NDIS” said Ms Robinson.

KDSF is an award winning disability services provider that has been in operation in Ballarat since 2007.




Karden Board Bucks the Gender Trend in Ballarat 

Thursday, 20 November 2014


Karden Disability Support Foundation prides themselves on being a little different, so it should not come as a surprise to anyone that their Board representation is also a little different to most.

The Ballarat Courier recently identified that men outnumber women 7:3 around Ballarat’s board tables. Bucking that trend, women currently outnumber men on the Karden Board 8:3 and the number of women on the Board will increase after their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday.

Karden Support Foundation will welcome three new Board members at the AGM on Wednesday afternoon, increasing the number of women on their eleven member Board to eight.

The new Board Members for Karden Disability Support Foundation are:

  • Sarah Christie – fourth year Arts/ Law student at Monash University, majoring in Human Rights Theory and International Studies.
  • Samantha Davies – professional background in commercial and non-government environments is complemented by a long-standing commitment to community leadership, including roles on various boards, and undertaking pro-bono work as a graduate of the prestigious Williamson Leadership Victoria program.
  • Vicki Mastihi – has a Bachelor of Social Work and her career has been devoted to ensuring better outcomes for the most disadvantaged in our society. Vicki has worked as a senior policy advisor for Federal Ministers developing policy in the area of Multicultural Affairs and Disability.

CEO and Founder of Karden Disability Support Foundation, Karen Robinson said we have been extremely fortunate to attract high calibre Board members for Karden over the last few years. Many of them just happen to be women.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sarah, Samantha and Vicki to our Board. They bring a wealth of personal experience and expertise in the disability and human services sectors.”

“Karden prides ourselves on not only being a little different, but also aiming high to ensure that we can deliver the very best service we can for our clients.”

“Our fantastic and exceptionally dedicated Board enable this organisation to flourish and to deliver on our commitment to personalised care for clients.”

“I am proud to have such a high calibre Board.”

“If the mix of genders on the Karden Board encourages other organisations to consider taking on more female board members, then that will be a fantastic outcome.”

Certainty for Sandhurst Residents and Staff 

Wednesday, 31 October 2014


The Hon Mary Wooldridge MP

Minister for Mental Health

Minister for Community Services

Minister for Disability Services and Reform


Certainty for Sandhurst residents and staff as new community-based service providers announced


  • Melba Support Services and Karden Disability Support Foundation will together run new community based facilities for residents of Bendigo’s Sandhurst Residential Services 
  • Construction for purpose-built homes to start early next year 
  • Sandhurst staff supported and encouraged to apply for jobs in the new services
  • Napthine Government building a better Victoria for people with disability


Residents of Bendigo’s Sandhurst Centre are today within reach of their new community-based homes with the announcement of the two successful organisations that will operate their new residences in the Bendigo area.


Disability Services and Reform Minister Mary Wooldridge congratulated Melba Support Services and Karden Disability Support Foundation on their successful bid to provide the new services.


“These new purpose-built community-based homes will transform the lives of the Sandhurst residents,” Ms Wooldridge said.


“Moving from an out-dated institution will provide them with greater privacy, choice, and community access in a home-like environment, while maintaining excellent professional support and personal connections with staff and other residents from Sandhurst.”

The Napthine Government announced plans in May 2013 to redevelop facilities at Sandhurst and backed that announcement with a $7.9 million investment. The plans have been widely supported by the disability services sector and advocates.


The Victorian Coalition Government has undertaken hundreds of consultations and meetings with families, residents and staff as part of the client planning process.


Melba and Karden have joined forces to create a new organisation to specifically provide accommodation and support for Sandhurst residents; to be known as Sandhurst Lifestyle Options.


Karden Disability Support Foundation has been operating in regional Victoria for eight years, and Chief Executive Officer Karen Robinson said it was a great honour to be embarking on a new journey with the people of Sandhurst.


“The staff at Sandhurst bring great expertise and skills in supporting the residents and we look forward to learning from them as we come together to create Sandhurst Lifestyle Options,” Ms Robinson said.


Melba has expertise in successfully transitioning clients from an institutional setting to community-based living.


Melba Chief Executive Officer Glenn Foard said: “As the first Australian organisation to be recognised for Person-Centred Excellence by the US Council on Quality and Leadership, Melba is confident of providing a high-quality individualised service for every person we support”.


“We will be building on the great foundation which has been established at Sandhurst and working hand in hand with the Department of Human Services to ensure the needs of individuals, families and staff are foremost,” Mr Foard said.


Ms Wooldridge said the combination of experience from the two organisations will be valuable in creating a positive transition and ongoing community living for Sandhurst residents, their families and staff.


“Importantly both organisations share the values of respect and client rights. I am also delighted by their commitment to the Sandhurst staff,” Ms Wooldridge said.


“Melba and Karden are setting up a dedicated head office for Sandhurst Lifestyle Options in Bendigo to manage the new service, and in their submission they acknowledge the expertise and value Sandhurst staff will bring to the organisation.”


They offer to support each staff member with an individual transition plan and access to a workforce advisory group to ensure staff are supported in their work caring for residents.


Ms Wooldridge said the appointment of the new providers will ensure greatercertainty for Sandhurst staff.


Construction of the five purpose-built facilities is expected to start early next year, with residents gradually moving to their new homes by June 2016.


Media: Christabelle Adjoyan 0401 206 201 christabelle.adjoyan@minstaff.vic.gov.au



Staff Training and Development Awarded at Karden Disability Support Foundation 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Karden Disability Support Foundation is proud to be the winner of the 2014 CGU Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards, Staff Training Development Award.

Karden Disability Support Foundation has extremely high staff retention rates and offers a range of training opportunities for staff including half day seminars in practical skill development and Advanced Diplomas in Disability and Management as part of our commitment to staff.

Karden Disability Support Foundation is big enough to be an industry leader in Australia for the provision of high quality, individualised support to clients and small enough to ensure that clients and staff are the focus of the business.

Karden Disability Support Foundation is an organisation aiming to put people, not systems, at the centre of disability support. This is articulated in the “Karden Way” of working and making decisions for clients, staff and the business.

CEO and Founder Karen Robinson said “At Karden Disability we strive to train and retain the very best staff. Our people are the key to providing individualised services to people with disability.”

“It’s a great thrill and an honour to be recognised by our peers with the 2014 Staff Training and Development Award from Commerce Ballarat.”

“It is a wonderful validation of the work of our staff and the support of our clients, that we were initially nominated” said Ms Robinson.

“Winning this award is the icing on the cake of what has been a really exciting time for Karden Disability Support Foundation following the merger with Arthur Creative.”

Karden Disability Support Foundation has grown rapidly since 2006 and provides industry certified services to more than 160 people – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

Karden Disability’s support services enable people to live, work and participate fully within the communities of Ballarat, Golden Plains, Hepburn and Moorabool Shires and to increase community understanding of the valuable roles people with disability play.

Additionally, arts and creative industries workshops are provided through the Arthur Creative Division for up to 130 participants with disability each week. The workshops enable artists with disability to pursue professional artistic pathways and explore a broad range of artistic programming.

Merger a Boost to Regional Arts and Disability Services

Tuesday, 1st July 2014


The Ballarat region’s arts and disability services are being enhanced by the merger of two local businesses.


Arthur Creative has joined Karden Disability Support Foundation in a merger that has more than doubled the amount of workshops available to artists with disability and created three new jobs in Ballarat.


Karden Disability Support Foundation has provided individualised support to clients with disability since 2006 and currently provides services to more than 160 people across the Ballarat region – 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Karden’s support services enable people to live, work and participate fully within our community and helps to increase community understanding of the valuable roles people with a disability play.


The incorporation of Arthur Creative into a new creative services division will strengthen both organisations, the creative programs and the support options available for local people with disability.


CEO of Karden Disability Support Foundation, Karen McCraw said the merger with Arthur Creative made sense from both a community and business perspective.


“We’ve been united in our determination to promote a wider acceptance and participation in the community by individuals with disability for many years and it made sense to come together to really make that happen”.


“We are thrilled that our Arthur Creative Services division will now be able to provide more than twice the amount of arts and creative industries workshops for individuals with disability in the Ballarat region”.


“Arthur Creative has previously worked with around 45 artists per week in 5 workshops including screen printing, mixed media, drama, craft and photography and there are now places for up to 130 people”.


“We have also created 3 new jobs and can move forward with an exciting plan to develop a social enterprise which would deliver career development opportunities for local artists with disability and a further 20 jobs in the long term”.


“The arts and creative industries provide the opportunity for people of all abilities to participate in employment and recreation activities. It’s an area of growth for our organisations and for the Ballarat regional economy”.


According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the arts and creative industries sector is the fastest growing sector in Australia and is worth $86 billion to the national economy.


Jodie Gillet, CEO of Commerce Ballarat said the merger of these Ballarat businesses is fantastic news for all.


“The merger of Karden Disability Support Foundation and Arthur Creative reinforces that there are positive and exciting things happening in the Ballarat business sector”.


“There are many small businesses in our community who are working hard to deliver economic improvement and create new local employment opportunities”.


Following the merger of the organisations, Karden Disability Support Foundation is the overarching entity for the client focused divisions of Karden Support Services and Arthur Creative Services. New branding for the divisions has been developed and is being rolled out over the coming weeks.


Karen McCraw, CEO of Karden Disability Support Foundation said the new divisions will work seamlessly to enhance the support and program choices that are available to people with disability and their supports in this region.


“The implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will empower individuals to make greater choices about their support and activities and we are ensuring that our clients will be well placed to take full advantage of the flexibility that the NDIS will deliver”.


Carolyn Guirguis, former Director of Arthur Creative said Arthur Creative is a valuable platform for strengthening the arts and creative industry sector in the Ballarat region.


“Arthur Creative’s Strategic Programs Manager and Creative Director, Emma Barrance has put so much of her heart and soul into the business since 2007 and it is great to see Karden recognising the value of Arthur Creative and taking it to the next level”.


“It’s fantastic that Arthur Creative will now be on a much stronger foundation and delivering significantly more programs”.