Fred Brumhead is a name known by everyone who is a part of Interchange Outer East (and beyond).

If you’ve ever been on family camp, attended any IOE family days, sports events, special events, rec programs, had anything to do with adult, children’s or family services you would know Fred. He is certainly not your average CEO and can always be found surrounded by children and adults and in the thick of the fun.

Well, this May, Fred celebrated 30 years at IOE , or rather the IOE community did, as Fred just hates the idea of being acknowledged.

Fred took on the job of Coordinator of Interchange Outer East in 1989, leaving Yooralla where he was running recreation programs for children. Prior to that he had been a weekend cottage parent for children with disabilities.

When Fred took on the job at Interchange there was only one program – the volunteer host program – on which the whole Interchange concept was built. Fred was the sole employee, apart from an admin assistant, and he was supported by a small Board of Management and a couple of professional advisors. His first few months were spent getting to know the 100 or so families who were registered, finding out what they hoped for from Interchange. Armed with this knowledge he set about building services . Family days came first, then holiday programs then family camps. This focus on family has continued to be an integral part of all IOE programs to this day. Fred, and all at IOE, believe that supported families are strong families and strong families make strong communities.

As Program Coordinator, Executive Officer and now CEO Fred has always been approachable and open to suggestions for increasing services to meet needs. He is a visionary who believes all things are possible and over the years has magically found ways to open many new opportunities and experiences for people with disabilities and their families. If the need was there the service would follow! He is passionate about respect, human rights, equal rights for all people and true community inclusion – values which have directed his decision making and therefore the direction IOE has taken over these last 30 years.

With Fred at the helm of the IOE team, the organisation has continued to grow and embrace the many changes and challenges within the disability field. The transition to NDIS has been particularly challenging. It has meant a complete reshaping of IOE’s structure and service provision, which Fred and the IOE team have met head on.

From two employees and a single program in 1989, IOE now has approximately 1000 families registered, 300 + employees, 300+ volunteers and a huge and ever increasing number of respite, recreational and social support programs and services for children, teens, adults and families.

While managing the increasing regulations and legislation and endless paperwork of the disability sector, Fred has managed to still be involved at a grass roots level – getting amongst it all with the kids, involving himself in activities, encouraging and having fun.

From all the families, staff and volunteers who make up our big IOE family ‘thank you for 30 years’ and for the difference IOE’s support has made to so many lives.

And he says he was originally only planning to stay for about 3 years!!

Check out our facebook page to view the video put together by Faye Lougheed for Fred’s 30 celebration.