St. Catherines Association was originally formed in 1970 by a small group of friends and families of children with intellectual disabilities.
Notable people involved at the time were Mrs. George O’Toole, Mrs. Clancy, Mrs. Cooney Jennings, Canon Fraser, Mrs. Doherty, Mrs. Stella Cooney, Rev. Robert Jennings and Mrs. Marie Brassington. Originally, they established a virtual child-minding service for one morning per week to allow the parents of these children have a few hours for relaxation or shopping. This developed into a minimal service for about ten children.
The Association then became a Registered Charity after a few years, and succeeded in acquiring the use of one room in The Nurses Home attached to Newcastle Hospital.
As the service grew, the Association became a Company (limited by guarantee with no share holdings). It is now managed by nine Directors who are nominated by the various groups and parents at the Annual General Meetings.