Throughout our history, Middlesex Community Living has evolved and grown, expanding its abilities and expectations. In 1965, a group of parents and community members opened a nursery school for children that were labeled “mentally retarded” with support of the Strathroy Lions Club. At that time there were more than 600,000 people labelled mentally retarded in Canada, 180,000 living in Ontario.

In 1970, the basement of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Strathroy housed the W.G. MacDonald School for trainable retarded children. The Middlesex County Board of Education sponsored four such schools and it was the next step for children from the nursery. The Strathroy and District Association for the Mentally Retarded which was expanding opportunities for the children with labels of our community was officially incorporated that same year.

As children grew into young adults a work atmosphere became essential. In 1974, the Strathroy Lions Club generously purchased a hall on Albert Street to renovate as a workshop.

In 1975, plans were drawn to expand Adelaide Central School to house and educate the mentally retarded in a school setting. In April of 1977, the Adelaide-W.G. MacDonald School was formally opened.

By 1982, Corner Car Care was well underway providing an opportunity for people with disabilities to enhance their working and social skills in an integrated community setting.

Housing too, became an issue as institutions began to downsize and repatriate people into their own communities. Funding was provided by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Society had begun to change its attitude and recognition was given that all people belonged in their home community. A group home, which had opened in 1977 on Penny Lane had made a change to encourage individuals who were capable, to live in their own apartments.

In 1986, a name change from Strathroy and District Association for the Mentally Retarded to Strathroy and Area Association for Community Living took place. It was felt that the former name encouraged the belief that people with disabilities had no potential to grow and develop.

The focus of 1988 and 1989 was change, growth and enhancing quality of support for individuals.

In 1994, our name was changed to Middlesex Community Living. Our new name better reflects the geographical area in which we serve and describes what it is we are trying to achieve – a community that accepts its members and recognizes that all of us have strengths and gifts and can be contributing members of the community.

In 1996, MCL was presented with the Ontario Accreditation Award by Accreditation Ontario, an accrediting body that utilizes Outcome Based Performance Measures as a measurement tool.

There were several planning initiatives underway in 1997 to guide the organization in their efforts to move towards the Vision and Mission.

Our first Quality Improvement Plan was developed, with the assistance of Accreditation Ontario, in the spring of 1997. The plan identified goals for change and included an action plan with strategies, objectives and criteria for success.

In the fall of 1997 and early 1998, the Centre for Management of Community Supports facilitated the development of a Day Program Plan entitled “Building on Our Momentum: Continuing Down the Road to Community Involvement.” The plan identifies a number of strategic initiatives which have been built on the achievements to date. It also emphasizes the need to be vigilant in ensuring that individuals are included in their communities and are able to exercise choice in determining their daily calendar of activities as well as stressing that MCL will continue to evolve away from segregated to community supports.

The development of an Outcomes Resource Team in 1998 has allowed MCL to maintain its focus on an outcomes approach to service delivery. The team has prepared a quality improvement strategy for the organization to assist in the facilitation of outcomes for people. The team acts as a resource to staff members and teams in their ongoing effort to tailor supports to individuals based on each person’s unique needs and aspirations.

The spring of 1999 was one of celebration. MCL received a Two Year Certificate of Accreditation confirming our commitment to quality supports that are responsive to individuals.

Early 2001 MCL was awarded the highest honour, a Three Year Certificate of Accreditation with Distinction. To those we offer supports to, families, community and funders, this award provided confirmation that MCL has aligned services and supports to enhance quality of life.

In May of 2004, MCL earned a second consecutive “Three-Year Certificate of Accreditation with Distinction”. This is a strong affirmation of the quality of our organization, the services proved and the commitment of those involved with MCL.

In 2004 MCL purchased the former Cuddy Furniture building at 82 Front Street, West, Strathroy. The building was completely renovated – the first floor is now the home of The JOB ZONE and the 2nd floor houses the administration office.

In 2007 MCL purchased a new home in Buttery Creek Estates to support three ladies who were returning to the community after spending many years in a Provincial Institution.

Ever evolving, MCL is proud of its history and demonstrated growth in recognizing that people are people. Informed choice and respect for all remain the priorities as growth demands flexibility and learning. MCL with the support of its dedicated volunteers and employees continues to learn and grow, ensuring quality supports for people.

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Middlesex Community Living uses a person centred approach to supporting people to live as independently as possible. This approach truly reflects and meets the needs and capabilities of each person.