PQSA was first known as The Paraplegic Association. It became incorporated on the 3rd of June 1963, and was run entirely by volunteers. Its primary role then was as an advocacy group for those who required a wheelchair for their mobility.
As demand grew for its services, the Association grew, expanding to work across the state’s south eastern regions and establishing a division in Mount Gambier.
Throughout the 70s, the Association introduced sport and social activities to its suite of services, and on the 5th of November 1979, the organisation became the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of South Australia Incorporated.
The organisation experienced a period of growth in the 80s, buoyed by the introduction of government funding. Services escalated, the needs of clients and members continued to grow, and by 1985 the organisation was able to employ paid staff.
Further expansion followed with the introduction of the Independent Living Program, training houses at Kurralta Park and Greenacres, and the appointment of a Liaison Support Person at the Hampstead Spinal Unit.
Near the end of the 80s, the organisation introduced HomeCare+ to its range of services, established an outreach service, and joined the Attendant Care Program.
In the 90s, there were sweeping changes following a shift in government policy. This saw the closure of the training houses, and the outreach services became Support Services – providing accommodation and counselling – which remain today. HomeCare+ continued to develop with the changing needs in the community, and maintains its pivotal role in the organisation’s service delivery.
In 2005, PQSA initiated the transitional housing project – the Ramsay Rebuild – which was launched in 2008. A similar project – Corriedale Park – providing transitional housing in Mount Gambier began in 2008.
In 2014, the Association rebranded and became known as PQSA. Today, PQSA is the peak community body supporting people living with Spinal Cord Injury to live their potential and, with its regional expansion, is a truly South Australian community organisation.