Fighting Chance Builds A New Future For Disibility

Dee Why RSL is very proud to assist local community group Fighting Chance, who are based in Frenchs Forest. Fighting Chance design, build and scale social enterprises – creating increased work opportunities for Australians with disability and their families, and are now supporting 180 people in our local area.

Dee Why RSL has specifically helped one of Fighting Chance’s expanding social enterprises: Avenue within the Northern Beaches. Avenue was established under the firm belief that all people can meaningfully contribute their skills and talents to society, and that people with profound and severe disability are no exception.

Club President Graeme Liddell and Executive Manager, Community Sheila Malone recently visited Fighting Chance to appreciate first-hand all that they do. Avenue imports a range of giftware products, handmade by artisans from around the world, and sells them to the Australian consumer through local markets, an e-commerce website and local wholesale. This commercial activity creates economic participation opportunities for a team of people with significant disabilities, who manage the importing, sales and distribution, marketing and promotion of the ethically sourced products. Avenue offers each person their first, and potentially only, opportunity to utilise their skills within a work setting.

Fighting Chance was set up by siblings Laura and Jordan O’Reilly, who grew up at the side of a younger brother, Shane, who had profound cerebral palsy. As Shane entered his late teens and began to look for meaningful post-school options, it became increasingly clear that his opportunities were extremely limited. Shane would never enter employment, despite being highly intelligent. Instead, he was likely to find himself in a day program which, while offering amusement and the occupation of his time, offered nothing in the way of personal development, growth, utility of his skills, or the provision of a sense of purpose in society.

Partnerships Executive Alex Carpenter stated, “Our mission is to ask ‘What if?’ – to see the world as it isn’t yet, to imagine a future quite different to the present; and then to make it happen. Through the creation of innovative social businesses, Fighting Chance provides  opportunities for meaningful social participation, employment, work experience and skill development to young people with the most significant disability in our community.”