Our
History

Village Community Trust was formed  by a group of people who valued the principle of community inclusion and integration for all members of society. It was registered as a charitable trust under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, with the intention of establishing a small rural community. In 1991 the principles of the Trust were refocused towards actively supporting employment initiatives for people with a disability.
 
In 1991 Purple Monkey Enterprises was established at Founders Park. This was a small craft business employing people with disabilities. After two years of operation the enterprise was sold to a staff member. In 1993 a Mobile Work Crew was established in Motueka, undertaking gardening, tree felling, general labouring and selling produce from a glasshouse. The Work Crew was relocated to Nelson in 1995, undertaking work contracts for litter collection, grounds maintenance and gardening. The Work Crew was established as a sheltered employment scheme, providing supervised work for people with disabilities.  
 
In 1995 VCT established a Supported Employment Agency, funded by the Community Funding Agency. The agency provided a free job placement and support service for people with disabilities, seeking to integrate clients back into the workforce. The agency developed valuable links with other support agencies and employers. In 1998 the main funding source was transferred to Work and Income New Zealand. Since then VCT has worked to develop a Supported Employment service ¡n liaison with Work & Income NZ, the Dept of Labour and other local disability and employment agencies. In 1999 the Mobile Work Crew lost its sheltered employment status and was brought into line with supported employment principles.
 
In 2000 VCT established Village Green Services, a contracting service employing jobseekers directly. In 2001 the Trust re-launched the Supported Employment Agency as VCT Employment, and developed closer links with employers and educational institutions. A School-leavers Programme was established to focus on the needs of the 16-21 age group. In 2002 VCT reduced its contracting role, ceasing to employ work crews to focus on open employment in accordance with the government’s Pathways to Inclusion policy. VCT became a member of ASENZ (Association for Supported Employment in New Zealand) and Commerce Nelson. The trust now operates under the name of WORKSTAR, but Village Community Trust continues to exist as a legal entity for governance purposes.