Bill and Lola Hair started New Haven as an accommodation service back in 1960. Having two sons with a disability, they wanted to provide a secure and caring environment for their loved ones. It was a welcome alternative to the existing services that were available at the time. They erected buildings that housed our first clients in a home-like environment. Some of those original clients are still living at New Haven Farm Home today. After some years, New Haven became a registered Charity and was named “New Haven Farm Home for Handicapped Boys” Inc., before eventually becoming New Haven Farm Home Ltd. The ‘Farm’ as most locals call it, was operated as a farm, with livestock and a recycling business.
Over a period of 20 years, and with the help of many community members, Bill & Lola Hair enhanced the existing homes and infrastructure at the farm. These improvements included the development of new facilities, incorporating amongst other things, a purpose built hostel before finally realising their dream – 16 hectares of tranquil farmland, they called home. The construction of the new hostel was completed in 1980, providing accommodation to an additional 16 clients, with a then state of art bathroom and ensuite facilities, dining room and commercial kitchen. During the 1980’s, and throughout the 1990’s the direction of support for people living at the “Farm” transformed from a rural, agricultural emphasis to a more community focus. New Haven Farm Home still operates as a charity and though our facilities have changed significantly, we still hold Bill and Lola’s original values of respect and care at the forefront of all we do.
Mum and dad started New Haven Farm in April 1960 to offer an alternative lifestyle for people with a disability. They donated 60 acres so people with a disability could enjoy living a farm life after leaving school at 16. The catalyst was that they wanted a better place for my oldest brother Billy, who lived at ‘Peat Island’ at the time. There was only Peat Island, Callen Park, Milson Island, or Rydalmere providing accommodation services for the ‘Mentally Retarded’. New Haven was one of the first of its kind in the State of NSW. It was a new way of living. Several other organisations followed suit, afterwards.
– Bob hair
People living at the ‘Farm’ have always enjoyed the convenience of the two town centres of Windsor & Richmond, as well as exploring the world beyond the beautiful Hawkesbury District. Since the late 1990’s there has been a large emphasis on community participation and integration and this tradition continues today. While the first twenty five years of operations of the ‘Farm’ focused on farming, livestock management and recycling, over the next twenty five years the ‘Farm’s’ vision changed to ‘Service’, with a focus on community participation and lifestyle skills development. Gradually over time, as individuals were supported in developing the necessary skills required to participate in their community, they made their own choices, enjoying an enhanced quality of life and developing living and vocational skills to their full potential. This tradition continues and is now aided by New Haven Farm’s commitment to our Person Centred Support approach, which is now an integral part of our mission.
To create opportunities for people living with a disability to live in a more homely environment during early 2000, New Haven Farm Home developed programs in conjunction with a facility we called “the Cottages”. These Cottages consisted of two houses which provided a homely environment to 8 people. The focus of this program was to develop necessary home care and domestic skill sets for the more independent residents. The program has been very successful and has enabled clients to develop the necessary competencies for living in a community home in the town of Richmond. In 2016 the Cottages were refurbished to provide accommodation for 4 clients.
The original, purpose built buildings were inevitably altered by the implacable passing of time and after they were replaced, these images remain to tell a wealth of stories about a long history.