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Our History

An old black and white photo with a woman and 3 children

Back in the late 50’s if your son or daughter was developmentally disabled, the opportunity for obtaining services was extremely limited in the Campbellford area.

Mrs. Mary Cook challenged this gap and responded to an advertisement in the Toronto Star, which was published by the President of the Ontario Organization for the Mentally Retarded, William Kirk. The article offered support to communities if a need existed for service. There continued to be correspondence with the President in hopes of gaining information with regards to services, which were available for developmentally disabled children. (Photo: Mrs Cook)

At this time, Mrs. Cook also began to submit editorials from the Ontario Organization to the local newspaper in hopes of stimulating additional interest from parents in the community.

Historic Timeline

In January 1960, as a result of Mrs. Cooks’ efforts, the President of the O.A.M.R. held a public meeting at the Parish Hall in Campbellford. The response was overwhelming with 58 interested people attending the meeting. Information was shared with participants in regard to O.A.M.R.’s services and goals. In April of 1960, the president of O.A.M.R. William Kirk returned to assist in the formation of the Campbellford and District Organization.

In September of 1960, the Organization undertook their first project; the opening of Merryvale School, which was the first school for developmentally disabled children in Northumberland County. Eleven children from ages 7-16 attended. The students, teas and bazaars raised funds through donations and various fundraising events such as auction sales. In April of 1966 the Organization purchased the building from Rotary to continue to provide an education-based program.

In January of 1968, the Ministry of Education assumed responsibility for the school’s operation. At that time the Campbellford and District Organization began a Sheltered Workshop for the developmentally disabled adults at the former Bridge Street School. The workshop relocated to Front Street prior to its final location at 27 Doxsee Avenue, which was opened in 1979. This location now is host to many of our activities and events for our organization and the community.

Since this time, the Organization has continued to experience tremendous change and growth in its direction to providing support and services to people with a developmental disability. Today the Organization provides services and support for approximately 160 people throughout Northumberland County and the surrounding areas.

Donner Awards

Inclusion Northumberland is proud of their commendable awards history with the Donner Canadian Foundation. The Donner Awards were Canada’s largest and most prestigious awards program for non-profit organizations from 1998 to 2014. In this timeframe, Inclusion Northumberland was thrilled to be named ‘Category Finalist’ eight times in the disability service category and ’Category Award’ winner six times. Highlighting this richly steeped history was the honour of receiving the William H. Donner Award for the prestigious ‘Overall Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services’ three times (twice jointly) and the “Peter F. Drucker Award” recognizing a “Consistent Record of Excellence” in 2009.

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