The Society for Multiply Disabled People of Tasmania was created in 1971 when parents of children with severe disabilities became concerned about the lack of services for their children as they grew older.
A public meeting was called in August 1971 by Burnie couple Trevor and Maureen Hodge, parents of two multiply handicapped children. The first meeting was well attended and after several more, a small committee was established.
The committee launched the Coastal Charity Queen Quest in 1972 as a way to raise funds, inviting entrants from between Wynyard and Devonport. Encouraged by the wonderful response to the quest at a local level, the committee expanded the quest statewide the following year.
Trevor Hodge was appointed as Multicap’s first employee in the capacity of secretary-manager in 1973.
After a dynamic fundraising effort, the committee bought multiple sites at West Mooreville Road between 1974 and 1978 to create the Multicap Heights Centre (Westwood).
The first 13-hectare property, on which Panorama now stands, was bought in 1975 and an adjoining 13-hectare property was acquired in 1978. A community support program was established in 1981.
In 1983, work began on the construction of Panorama, costing more than $500,000.
The majority of services provided by the society have been funded by the proceeds of Multicap’s quests, which were held between 1973 and 2000.
Burnie Group Home, originally known as Fairwinds, was the first group residence established by the parents and friends’ group. It was subsequently sold and the group homes in Ritchie Avenue and Simpson Street were bought. Houses were bought in the Launceston suburb of Summerhill and established as group homes with the assistance of Caring Parents, a sub-committee of the society that still actively supports the two homes.
In 2014, the organisation’s name was formally changed to Multicap Tasmania. The link and ideology of its origins remain unchanged. Multicap Tasmania’s aim is to make the most of community opportunities to maximise the potential of each person living with disability and to enhance their quality of life.
It provides a variety of services to meet the needs of people living with disability, their families and carers.
The services are designed to be ﬂexible and diverse to meet the individual requirements of people with a disability. By helping people develop skills and by providing support, Multicap Tasmania makes it possible for them to participate fully in their community and to express their independence, choices and opinions.
Multicap Tasmania’s philosophy is that people with a disability have the same rights as non-disabled people; they are:
Its services are based on the principles of normalisation, whereby programs and support should be conducted in the community or, where this is not feasible, in an environment as near as possible to the cultural norm. This support should be provided with respect for the feelings, wishes and dignity of people with disability.
We promote a positive image of people with disability by providing a means of developing skills and maintaining current abilities, in a manner which is respectful of the individual person’s age and health and considerate of their requests and choices.
Multicap Tasmania has grown to become a leading provider of disability services across Northern Tasmania. Today Multicap Tasmania operates a growing range of services from sites in Wynyard, Burnie, Ulverstone, Devonport and Launceston, as well as providing services in the general community.
With the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Multicap Tasmania is well placed for sustained growth and to further enhance its reputation as a quality provider of disability support services.
Multicap Tasmania’s aim is to make the most of community opportunities to maximise the potential of each person living with disability and to enhance their quality of life.