Celebrating a decade of vital support at animal farm 'oasis'
It is party time at animal farm Our Backyard now that Sunshine Butterflies has come out of its COVID-19 health and safety hibernation.
A spokeswoman for the Cooroibah-based disability support service said they were "overjoyed" to reopen their doors after they were closed early March during the global health crisis.
"We are back to running our daily recreational and educational programs at Our Backyard (it's animal farm headquarters) and delivering all our vital services," the spokeswoman said.
"Thank you all so much for your understanding and support over these last few months.
"We are so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful community in Noosa."
She said high on the priority list was celebrating "10 years of servicing the local community".
"From very humble beginnings in 2010, we have grown from just a handful of members and a few staff, to one of the shire's biggest employers with over 90 staff," the spokeswoman said.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of founder and CEO Leanne Walsh, Sunshine Butterflies began operating from a garage.
It then moved to a shed in Noosaville in 2012 then a "five-acre oasis" in 2014 thanks to enormous community and business support.
"We now offer services above and beyond what we could ever have dreamt of and provide the most unique and wholesome environment for people living with disabilities," the spokeswoman said.
"There have been so many people and businesses that have contributed to our success.
"We could not have done it without the support of each and every one of them."
Since the introduction of the NDIS 18 months ago, Sunshine Butterflies services have developed rapidly. The changes meant more support services, community participation and more staff.
"It's been an exciting and rewarding challenge for Sunshine Butterflies," Leanne said.
Now the service is aiming to provide supported holidays for its members as well as regular social events and may open "Our Backyard" to the public for special events in the near future.
The birthday bash is planned for August 11 with members and staff celebrating how far they've come.
Early birthday presents at a centre that prides itself on its animal therapy sessions, is an 11-year-old mare called Indi and five rescue sheep.
Indi became part of the Butterflies family in June and is already right at home with the rest of the wonderful menagerie.
The sheepish new arrivals are Lady Baba, Onyx, Caster, Lamb Chops and Sir Lambert.
"These guys are already so happy and settling in nicely with our friendly sheep crew," the spokeswoman said.