Cranebrook athlete is set to take on the world

Cranebrook has an Olympic star!

Owen Nicolson has been selected to represent Australia at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Greece next year.

Owen, 21, has made Team Australia in the football (soccer) side, following an outstanding performance in the New South Wales team at the Special Olympics Australia National Games in Adelaide in April.

The New South Wales team came third in the national competition.

A modest Owen said he was surprised to be selected as part of the 130-member Australian team, which one of 185 countries represented at the Games.

"I’m really excited – it’s a great honour," he said.

This isn’t the first time Owen has represented his country – the talented athlete played cricket for Australia at the Special Olympics International Cricket Cup in India in 2006.

But it will be his first time in Europe.

"It’ll be good to see a new country and meet new people," he said.

Owen is a supported employee at Endeavour Foundation Industries in Mt Druitt, working in the food production area.

Endeavour Foundation Industries Mt Druitt provides employment opportunities for 240 people with a disability, providing specialised training and development for supported employees.

The site will hold an open day on Friday 3 September for the public in surrounding areas, to showcase the life-changing services Endeavour Foundation Industries offers to people with a disability. Parents of people with a disability, in particular, are invited to come and discover the massive difference it can make to their sons’ and daughters’ lives. Tours of the site will be available from 10am.

"The open day is an opportunity for people to come in and see first-hand what Endeavour Foundation is all about," said EFI Mt Druitt manager Cory Magtibay.

"Supported employees will also be on-hand to share what they do here and why they like it."

Mayor of Blacktown Charlie Lowles will attend the open day, which will feature displays of work/products that Endeavour Foundation Industries are involved with, sample tastings of Kingaroy Kitchen Fine Foods proudly made by people with a disability at Endeavour Foundation Industries Kingaroy, and a free sausage sizzle lunch cooked by Endeavour staff and clients for the community to enjoy.

And raffle tickets will be available to win a basket of goodies donated by The Good Guys, with proceeds going to help Owen make it to Greece for the Games. The workplace has numerous fundraising ventures planned to help Owen and have so far raised $450, through various events such as scone and muffin days, where supported employees and staff baked and sold the products.

"We’re all so proud of Owen’s achievement and to see him achieve his dreams. We will do everything we can to support him," Cory said.

Endeavour Foundation Industries has three sites in Sydney – Seven Hills, Mt Druitt and Castle Hill — which were acquired from the insolvent Cumberland Industries last year, thus saving nearly 500 local jobs.

Endeavour Foundation is the largest employer of people with a disability in Australia, with more than 1,800 supported employees working at 26 sites throughout Queensland and New South Wales.

"Endeavour Foundation Industries provides full-time and part-time employment, training, personal development and social opportunities to people with a disability," Cory said.

"The organisation offers a comprehensive assessment to supported employees, to determine the best employment options based on the individual’s skills, abilities, personal goals and availability.

"Endeavour focuses on the supported employees’ personal and professional development."

Cory said the supported employees were looking forward to showing members of the public around.

"They’re very proud of their work, and so they should be," she said.

"We offer a quality service for numerous well-respected and well-known brands."

What: Endeavour Foundation Industries open day. Public invited to tour the facility to see the benefits to people with a disability. There will also be an information stand, gourmet food tastings, sausage sizzle and speeches, including by a supported employee/employee representative.
When: 10am-1pm, Friday, 3 September.
Where: EFI Mt Druitt/Filpac Services, 59-65 Kurrajong Ave, Mt Druitt


Jo Glover, Media and Communications Officer
Phone: (07) 3908 7257, 0429 065 440
Fax: (07) 3253 7271