Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

SILC celebrates 25 years

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Terese Germon and Willy Beilby. Photo/Andrew Warner
Terese Germon and Willy Beilby. Photo/Andrew Warner

A Bay organisation supporting people with disabilities is continuing to grow 25 years after it first opened its doors.

SILC, Supported Individualised Lifestyle Choices, opened its doors in 1991 and celebrated its 25th anniversary yesterday at the ASB Arena with about 220 guest for high tea.

The organisation provides support and solutions for any person who required assistance with day-to-day living. SILC believes people with disability should be able to live ordinary lives in the community, and support should be there for this to occur.

SILC founder Terese Germon said she was surprised at the growth of the organisation over the years. It now supported about 200 people in Tauranga.

"We thought it would be smaller. We always believed we would stay a small boutique organisation but there were people all the time who needed service so we kept growing.

"It needed to continue because once we made the commitment to people, it's a person's whole lifespan we are supporting."

The Tauranga community opened their arms to the organisation when it first opened, she said.

"Ever since we supported people to move out of Tokanui Hospital the community has been really accepting here.

"For us it is that local feel."

The organisation had an amazing group of people who worked alongside their clients, she said.

"I am really proud of the people we have who support people. They have such a great heart for what they do.

"It's not an industry or organisation you can just work in. You put a lot of yourself into it. So we have some amazing people, they are the best they can be. That's what it is about, the people."

SILC board of trustees chair Ron Scott said in the past people were being placed in institutions like Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital when they didn't need to be.

"They were hidden away from the community. So if people were being were being moved back into the community it was about developing them and giving them opportunities and helping the people we suppose understand they had opportunities."

SILC supports people who:

· Live with long term disability, injury or illness
· Who have age related challenges
· Who have temporary disability through illness or injury

- Bay of Plenty Times

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