Accolades for two Central Coast disability service providers

Lonestar Makoni with his wife Ruvimbo

From 50 finalists Australia wide, two Central Coast organisations have won major awards at the recent 2023 Australia Disability Service Awards, organised by One Community and held the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Lonestar Makoni, founder of Breaking Barriers Disability Service, jointly took out the award for Most Outstanding CEO/Director while Ability SDA, founded by Paul Simmons, won the award for Best Accommodation Provider.

Makoni, a DJ, philanthropist, and one-time chef, is CEO to more than 170 staff members at the disability service he founded on the Central Coast four years ago.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Makoni had worked in his father’s businesses, following family to Australia and working as a chef for eight years before being drawn to the disability service sector where he started Breaking Barriers Disability Service. 

 “My wife says I’m a people person,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of time for people, love helping them and love listening to them.

“That goes for my team, I would never swap them for anything, I’ve got the best team behind me.

“I still do disability support work, working side-by-side with my employees and following their lead.”

From formulating strategic direction, balancing best practice alongside company expansion, to building strong teams, Makoni is described as a quiet achiever and philanthropist, often anonymously gifting school uniforms, white goods and groceries to families in need.

Paul Simmons with his wife Angie

Paul Simmons and his wife Angie co-founded Ability SDA, a specialist disability accommodation provider with homes in Sydney and the Central Coast.

“Our apartments allow for couples and families to reunite after being separated as a result of disability,’ Simmons said.

“There is a large under-supply of accessible, affordable housing in Australia.

“It is a significant problem, with some people forced to live in accommodation not suited to their needs.

“Sometimes they are even forced into emergency housing.

“When we saw the need and demand for specialised housing we set to work collaborating with occupational therapists and top accessibility consultants to deliver high quality, functional homes.”

Ability SDA and Breaking Barriers Disability Service joined 12 other winners and finalists from around Australia for the Australian Disability Service Awards when hundreds gathered for the disability service sector’s night of nights, as their achievements as industry leaders and changemakers were showcased.

Winners included a wearable device that gamifies physiotherapy exercises; a rehabilitation service offering a one-stop shop for people with acquired brain injury; and a program that is transforming coastal communities with universal beach access.

1 Comment on "Accolades for two Central Coast disability service providers"

  1. Well done to you both.

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