13th October 2016
I acknowledge an extraordinary group which brings smiles to the faces of many people with special needs in my community. In 2002 a group of nine families headed by John and Carolyn Thoroughgood began a group called the Waltz-Sing Matildas. Those families each had a child of their own with Down syndrome or other disabilities. From weekly dance classes for eight young people and with a view to staging a debutante's ball for special needs people, the weekly classes now regularly get 80 people on the dance floor. Last month I was proud to attend their fifteenth debutante ball with some 350 people in attendance.
So popular has this group become that it now performs other concerts throughout the year and at community events. It provides people with special needs with not only a bit of fun but enjoyable exercise programs and a valuable social network. The not-for-profit group is supported by the business community, most significantly by Wests Cardiff. Many of the founding families still play active roles in the ongoing success of the Waltz-Sing Matildas. The Lake Macquarie community is much richer for the work these people carry out, while the lives of many special needs people are highly enriched. I am sure members of this Parliament will join me in congratulating all involved.
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