(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
Reablement Community of Practice – Sign Up

Reablement Community of Practice – Sign Up

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Reablement Community of Practice has just been launched and provides a discussion forum for CHSP providers to engage with other providers about wellness and reablement.

The CHSP reablement community is managed by providers that deliver Sector Support and Development services with a focus on wellness and reablement.

Become a member of the CHSP Community of Practice. 

Official Community Visitor scheme marks 25 years of operation in NSW – press release

Official Community Visitor scheme marks 25 years of operation in NSW – press release

This year marks 25 years of the Official Community Visitor (OCV) scheme, a program that ensures children, young people and people with disability are better supported while living in residential services across NSW.

NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald AM, said the OCV scheme plays an important role in promoting and upholding the rights of children and young people living in out-of-home care, and of people with disability and additional needs living in supported accommodation and assisted boarding houses.

“OCVs are critical in ensuring any child, young person or person with disability living in supported accommodation has a voice in raising issues or concerns with their service provider about the care they receive,” Mr Fitzgerald AM said.

“Over the past 25 years, OCVs have conducted over 70,000 visits and raised over 95,000 issues with visitable services across NSW. This is a fantastic achievement and provides a vital safeguard for vulnerable children and adults living in the care of residential services.”
“Additionally, OCVs have influenced systemic change over the years, resulting in improved standards of care and outcomes for many people living in residential care. Today, I want to say thank you for your commitment to standing up for the rights and interests of children, young adults and people with disability across NSW.”

Since March 2020 the Office of the Children’s Guardian has had oversight of OCVs for children. NSW Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer has been impressed with the commitment of OCVs to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in residential out-of-home care, people with disability in accommodation services and people living in boarding houses.

“This important oversight role is undertaken by people who are dedicated to improving the quality of services provided to very vulnerable people with the ultimate aim to prevent abuse and neglect. These services are better because of the OCVs.”

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said OCVs also help service providers remain vigilant when addressing concerns of residents.

“The work of OCVs and their approach to resolving often complex issues is invaluable. I am grateful for the advice and support they provide, and for their consistent focus on the rights and needs of vulnerable people living in residential care.”

There are currently 2,224 visitable services and 32 OCVs in the scheme across NSW. For more information, see the attached fact sheet or visit adc.nsw.gov.au
 Media | Renee Kastanias 0438 486 245
OCV scheme | [email protected]

Disability Gateway helps find the support you need

Disability Gateway helps find the support you need

The Australian Government has created the Disability Gateway for people with disability, their families and their carers. It was created to improve the navigation to access relevant information and services and be a central point of entry for referrals to disability information, services and programs.

The Disability Gateway website hosts information and links about 10 different areas of life:

  • Money: Information about payments and supports.
  • Employment: All about training and finding a job.
  • Aids and equipment: Technology that makes your day-to-day life easier.
  • Housing: Information about finding a home that suits your needs.
  • Transport: Getting where you need to go.
  • Health: Information about the supports and services that keep you healthy.
  • Day-to-day living: Information about the things you do every day.
  • Education: Learning new things and getting new skills.
  • Leisure: All about sports, hobbies, travel and holidays.
  • Legal: Information about your rights and the people who can support you.

There are videos, easy to read guides, ReadSpeaker and translation services available to make everything on the site accessible for all.

You can access the Disability Gateway here.




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How do we address bullying in schools for people with disability?

How do we address bullying in schools for people with disability?

Did you catch ‘About a Boy’ on Australian Story last week? Nine year old Quaden was the target of vicious social media bullying after his mum posted a video of Quaden distraught from bullying at school. If you didn’t there is still time to watch it online.

Sadly, discrimination and bullying for people with disability is a reality for many Australians leading to poor mental health outcomes.

Social Futures “Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside” is a disability awareness and inclusion program designed for schools. It was created by our talented Local Area Coordinator from Orange, Prue McCarthy, who knows too well what it is like to be treated differently due to disability.

“I wanted children to realise that people with a disability are just the same as everyone else”, says Prue, “and I hope they can carry this awareness with them through to their adult years and onto the next generation. The best place to make change into the future is with the children of today.”

The program introduces young people to different types of disability. It uses activities and games to teach children empathy and help them to gain an understanding of what it is like to live with a disability. One of the features making this program so successful is the opportunity for children to interact directly with a person with disability and to ask them open and honest questions.

“’What the hardest thing for you to do with having a disability?’ they often ask”, says Prue “or I’m commonly asked if I ever wished that I weren’t born with a disability.”

“I had one teacher tell me about a student who was hearing impaired but too embarrassed to wear his hearing-aides. But after I presented that student went up to his teacher and said “I think that I might start wearing my hearing-aides so I can learn more.” ”

“I know I have done my job well when I see students write on the evaluation forms, ‘people with disabilities can do anything they want to’ ” smiles Prue.

Here is what some Year Six Primary School students from Orange had to say after completing the Program:

“If I’m being honest, I was a bit afraid when Prue first came into our class but that left quite quickly as she sat and talked to us about her life with cerebral palsy. Her talk was inspiring and left me thinking about her for the rest of the day.” – Trixie

“Prue explained that sometimes society judges people who have disabilities. Just because someone might be different to you, you should not discriminate against them. We have to change our discriminative ways and learn to love.” – Joaquin

If you would like to know more about our Inclusion Programs for schools, including the ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’ program, call Social Futures on our LAC Hotline today – 1800 522 679 (830am-430pm weekdays).

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Rob’s come along in leaps and bounds

Rob’s come along in leaps and bounds

At 67, Broken Hill man Rob Lindsay has lived with an intellectual difficulty all his life.

“There just weren’t assessments for that sort of thing when Rob was younger”, said his sister Joan.

“At school, he didn’t keep up, that’s just the way it was. When he left school, he went on a disability pension, but there was nothing for him to do – no programs or supports,” Joan added.

But life has taken a positive turn for Rob who has come along in leaps and bounds since meeting Michael at Social Futures and becoming a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.

“He’s got confidence now!” Joan said.  “People would say to me a few years ago, when he first started on the NDIS, ‘he walks upright now’, and ‘he’s so proud of himself’.

Without the NDIS he wouldn’t have been able to afford the supports he now has. The NDIS has put that within our grasp,” Joan said.

“Michael, our Social Futures LAC, has been really fantastic. “He keeps in touch and any time there is anything up, I just have to ring him.

“I can see him anytime – the support is there the whole time. Social Futures have been able to suggest other additional supports for Rob to access through his plan. They’ve been just wonderful,” said Joan.

Prior to receiving NDIS support, Rob lived with his elderly mother, and Joan would do the shopping, cooking and housecleaning with support from home delivered meals a couple of times a week.

Now, Rob is able to access home support through the NDIS for housecleaning and cooking. He has even learned to cook for himself, preparing his own meals two or three nights a week.

This has taken the pressure off Joan, who can now spend more quality time with her brother, as well as more time with her husband.

“I think the NDIS is fantastic,” Joan said. “It’s a real load off, you’ve got no idea how much.”

Rob is also learning literacy, numeracy and cooking.

“He can now use an ATM card, and is learning literacy and numeracy so he can write his own grocery lists,” Joan said.

“Here’s me, I can’t even use a computer and he does computers!” Joan said with a laugh.

“Now, he can also write cards to his niece and nephew, which he wasn’t ever able to do before!”

Joan said the social aspects of the groups Rob accesses have been a lifesaver for him, and now he goes on outings to the cinema and the shops.

“I couldn’t fault the staff in terms of the help I have had through the NDIS. It’s just phenomenal,” Joan added.

If you would like more information about Social Futures Local Area Coordination for the NDIS, call our LAC Hotline on 1800 522 679 between 8:30-4:30pm Monday to Friday or email [email protected].

NDIS Independent Assessments and the NDIS Participant Service Improvement Plan and Charter

NDIS Independent Assessments and the NDIS Participant Service Improvement Plan and Charter

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has made a range of new announcements over the past few months – have a look at the links below where you can find information below website links and can read more about Independent Assessments and the NDIS Participant Service Improvement Plan and Charter.There is also an Easy to Read Guide on the NDIS Participant Service Improvement Plan and Charter which you can download here.

Key information and resources on Independent Assessments and the NDIS Participant Service Improvement Plan and Charter

Improving the National Disability Insurance Scheme https://www.ndis.gov.au/news/5356-improving-national-disability-insurance-scheme

·       Participant Service Charter and Participant Service Guarantee


·       Participant Service Improvement Plan


·       Independent Assessments key facts and dates

·       Independent Assessment process


·       Independent Assessors

·       Functional Capacity Assessment Framework

·       Questions and Answers on Independent Assessments


National Carers Week 11-17 October 2020 – Join us for a range of Online events

National Carers Week 11-17 October 2020 – Join us for a range of Online events

To celebrate carers and recognise the significant contribution carers make each and every day, Carers NSW is hosting a range of online wellbeing workshops and webinars during National Carers Week, 11 – 17 October 2020.  

Carers from across NSW are invited to join a range of free online webinars and self-care and wellbeing workshops for carers during Carers Week 2020.  

Workshops will include mindfulness meditation, tai chi, strength and balance and an art workshop which will be available online through Zoom conferencing for carers across NSW.  

Webinar sessions will include a carer panel discussion with television and news presenter Georgie Gardner, a Carers + Employers webinar for developing carer friendly workplaces and other webinars during the week to raise awareness of the incredible work carers do.  

For more information and to register to attend any of these events visit www.carersnsw.org.au/national-carers-week 

Phine: 02 9280 4744



Missed the Virtual Expo? Don’t worry! You can still access all the info here!

Missed the Virtual Expo? Don’t worry! You can still access all the info here!

The Future Choices Virtual Transition Expo for Students with Disability was a huge hit! But, if you are a student with disability thinking of further study or are what wondering what happens next if you’re leaving school, and you missed the main event, no problem! You can still access the Expo stands for another three months.

There are hundreds of exhibitors, including Social Futures, with heaps of information, videos, hints and tips and links to useful websites.

So, if you are wondering what support is available to you for this next exciting chapter of your life, log on for free to view our virtual expo stand. Go to:  future choices to register and look for us in the Expo Hall.

Or, if you would like to talk to us, call our LAC Hotline on 1800 522 679 any weekday between 8:30-4:30pm or drop into one of our offices for a chat.

Elise moves into a home of her own

Elise moves into a home of her own

Moving into your own home is a special milestone but for Elise Miller, it holds extra significance.

Elise has finally had the birthday party she’s dreamed of for so long, with friends, family and other supporters celebrating in her new purpose-built home. The sociable 34-year-old has lived with her parents all her life but, according to her mother Vicki, had “clearly” reached the point where she was seeing too much of mum and dad.

Elise has severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy, a mild intellectual disability and is non-verbal but can communicate her needs to those who know her well.

“We bought the block of land a while back with this in mind and hired the architect three years ago, about the same time Elise joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” Vicki said.

“It’s taken a while but we wanted to be sure everything was just right, which it now is – the builder has done a really good job.”

Elise moved in at the beginning of August but Vicki had to find and train up a team of eight support workers who will be on hand to provide one-on-one care 24 hours a day, seven days a week in rotating shifts.

“She just loves her new place, she’s more mellow since she’s moved in,” Vicki said. “Elise enjoys being out and about and likes company, especially when people are having fun. Now she’ll have the extra joy of having her friends over to her own home and having fun there.”

Elise’s home has three bedrooms and is entirely flat, removing the need for ramps, and also features wide doorways, wide hallways, floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, an accessible bathroom and a large open lounge/kitchen/dining area.

Her NDIS funding has paid for occupational therapy assessments, builder consultations, the installation of an overhead hoist between her bedroom and bathroom, plus key items such as a new bed and shower trolley.

Leftover track from Elise’s bedroom hoist installation has also been routed through to the lounge room so she can have ‘floor time’ there.

Elise’s new home is much closer to town, putting her within easy reach of the central business district. She also has her own modified car that her support workers use to take her to various activities, including her day program.

Elise’s most recent NDIS plan funded a Support Coordinator for the first time, which has proved invaluable given the circumstances of Elise’s move against the background of the COVID lockdown. Vicki also receives support from Elise’s Local Area Coordinator Belinda Separovic, who works for NDIS partner Social Futures.

Vicki chuckles wryly that Elise’s place will “probably become party central.”

“The support arrangements we have in place will really allow her to live her own life for the first time – she’ll be able to get up when she wants, do what she wants and go to bed when she wants just like everyone else in the community.”

Richmond Tweed Regional Library Mobile Library Review

Richmond Tweed Regional Library Mobile Library Review

Richmond Tweed Regional Library wants to hear from you!

RTRL has been providing the community with outreach services through a mobile library since 1980. During that time the service has evolved to meet changing community needs and expectations.

In 2017, RTRL member Councils signed the RTRL Deed of Agreement which requires the library to review our mobile library service. To fulfil that requirement, we will be undertaking community consultation and research to inform the review.

What we are doing
We are currently undertaking a review and consultation process to ensure we are servicing the community need in the best way we can. The outcome of the process may result in changes or adjustments to the current service, or we may find that what we are currently offering best fits the need. We need your input to plan what happens next.

How can you contribute
If you would like to participate in the review process, you can complete our online survey running from August 24 to September 6. The purpose of the survey is to uncover your needs so that we can assess our service against your needs and respond accordingly. The survey can be taken online by clicking here, or by visiting any RTRL branch during opening hours.

We will be facilitating four focus groups during September and October  to seek feedback on the findings of the online survey and possible library responses. To express your interest in participating in the focus groups, please complete the online survey which has a section to leave your details. We will then contact you with further details.

What will change?
We won’t know what, if any, changes need to be made to the service until the consultation process is complete. Any changes will be communicated to the community.

How do you stay up to date with what’s happening?
This webpage will be the main source of information and updates during the consultation and review. Information will be shared on the Library and Council’s social media channels, websites and in our branches. Subscribe and follow the Library at the bottom of the page.

How will we manage your information
Information provided by you through the online survey or focus groups will be used for the purpose of evaluating your needs and the Mobile Library service. The Library does not provide your details to third parties.

Who to contact if you have questions about the process?
You can use the Library’s Contact Us page, email [email protected] or phone Support Services on 02 6625 5100 

Online survey – August 24 through September 6
Focus groups – September through October 2020 
Service model put forward – November
Visit the RTRL website to take the survey or participate in a focus group.

New easy read tool builds good mental health

New easy read tool builds good mental health

We all go through tough times but when you have an intellectual disability, it can be even harder to recognise and pull yourself out of troubling thoughts and feelings.

Healthy Mind is a new website designed to help people with Intellectual Disability (ID) to manage unhelpful thinking, to recognise feelings, to relax and to learn to have fun.

Created by the Black Dog Institute the website is designed for people with mild to borderline intellectual disability who may also be experiencing mild to moderate depression, anxiety and/or stress. Healthy Mind can also be helpful for sustaining and building good mental health.

Healthy Mind can be accessed for free and without the need to register. It consists of five structured learning topics that apply proven strategies used by doctors and psychologists.

Healthy Mind learning topics include:

  •       Breathe and relax
  •         Managing unhelpful thinking
  •       Having more fun
  •         Taming anger
  •         Recognising Feelings

Healthy Mind can:

  •         provide treatment and support where face-to-face therapy is not available or accessible.
  •         be used in conjunction with face-to-face therapy by providing a supplementary level of support
  •        be accessed at any time providing information and skills when required.

The website can be found here: https://www.healthymind.org.au

(Alt Text. Image shows a cartoon character dog in orange and cream colours with a black collar and brown eyes and nose. He is happy, with his tongue out and wagging his tail. There is green grass and trees in the background.)

Protect yourself from scammers

Protect yourself from scammers

This week is Scams Awareness Week, which aims to highlight to all Australians the importance of keeping personal information secure. A scam is an illegal trick, a type of fraud usually designed to get money from people by way of deception.

Measures you can take to guard against scammers include:

  • if you’ve been asked to pay money into an account you haven’t paid into before, always check over the phone with your provider, or service supplier, to confirm the account details and be sure of who you’re dealing with
  • not opening suspicious texts, pop-up windows or clicking on links or attachments in emails
  • keeping your online personal details secure by keeping your password a secret, and;
  • choose passwords that are difficult to guess and update them regularly.

Visit the NDIS Scam awareness webpage to learn how to protect yourself from scammers or to report a scam. If you need information in different languages, visit the Services Australia webpage on scams and identity theft.

If you think you have been scammed, you can also call the NDIS fraud reporting and scams helpline on 1800 650 717 or email [email protected] to report a scam.

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An NDIS workforce for our diverse community – free workshops

An NDIS workforce for our diverse community – free workshops

When it comes to accessing and maintaining disability services and supports that are culturally appropriate, people from CALD backgrounds experience multiple layers of disadvantage, including language barriers, social stigma, lack of culturally responsive services, a distrust of government agencies, unfamiliarity with the service system, and a lack of awareness of their entitlements and available supports.

An estimated 23 per cent of the Australian population are from a CALD background according to the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s (NDIS) definition of cultural and linguistic diversity. The available evidence indicates that people from CALD backgrounds have rates of disability, and profound or severe disability, similar to the rest of the Australian population. (Still Outside the Tent, October 2018).

CultureReady are free workshops aimed at helping disability service providers to work more effectively with people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

You can learn how to enhance your service delivery to CALD participants, how to recruit and retain high performing staff from diverse backgrounds, and how to train staff to provide respectful and culturally responsive services.

Find more information about workshops and training on the Settlement Services international website: https://www.ssi.org.au/services/ssi-training/cultureready

(Alt text: image shows two women from culturally diverse backgrounds. The woman in the foreground wears a white headscarf and is smiling at the camera with a red pen in her hand and a writing book on a table in front of her. The woman in the background wears a dark blue denim jacket with glasses and black wavy hair)

Be my Eyes – Bringing Sight to Blind and Low Vision People

Be my Eyes – Bringing Sight to Blind and Low Vision People

Be My Eyes is a free mobile app with one main goal: to make the world more accessible for blind and low-vision people. The app connects blind and low-vision individuals with sighted volunteers and companies from all over the world through a live video call.

More than 2,000,000 volunteers from all over the world have signed up to the app to assist blind and low-vision users.

Be My Eyes users can request assistance in over 180 languages and every day, volunteers sign onto Be My Eyes to lend their sight to blind and low-vision individuals to tackle challenges and solve problems together.

The premise is very simple. If someone who is blind or low vision needs help from a sighted person, they simply put out a call. A sighted volunteer answers the video call and lends their eyes to help solve the problem. It could be as simple as checking an expiry date, reading an instruction, or answering a simple question like, ‘which is the red button?’ or ‘what colour shoes go with this dress I’m wearing?’

In these simple little ways this app and its many volunteers can make a big difference in the everyday lives of others.

It’s free to download on iOS and Android here