(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
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.

(Alt text: Image shows the word SCAM in large red letters with a red border)

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 


Madeleine lands her dream job

Madeleine lands her dream job

Madeleine Thompson dreamed of becoming a nurse when she was still in primary school. Now she’s living the dream, having recently secured a permanent role as an Assistant in Nursing at St Joseph’s Nursing Home in the northern NSW town of Lismore.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Madeleine says. “I’m on nights three or four shifts a week which has taken a bit of adjustment, eight hours each shift and finishing at 7.30am.”

To get to where she is now hasn’t been an easy road for Madeleine, now 20. She was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism/Aspergers while in primary school, and struggled with understanding social cues and maintaining friendships throughout her school years.

“I had to move schools due to bullying,” Madeleine says. “My diagnosis is a lot less common in females than males and it just marked me out as different to anyone else in my peer group.

“My autism is very mild but the ADHD did affect my ability to focus on schoolwork, plus the classroom environment could be a bit difficult due to my heightened sensitivity to noises and other distractions – things like tapping pens, clicking heels or certain smells.”

Madeleine joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme when it rolled out across the Northern Rivers region in 2017 and has been supported by NDIS Local Area Coordinator partner in the community Social Futures since then.

“I spent most of my high school years at a school where they gave me a lot of educational support but the therapeutic supports I receive through my NDIS plan have been really good for my social skills,” she says.

“Since leaving school at the end of 2018 I’ve put a plan manager in place and now make my own decisions about the supports I receive, with support from my Local Area Coordinator, Trudy, as required.”

After finishing school she enrolled in a six-month TAFE course to gain her Health Services Assistant in Aged and Acute Care Certificate while working part-time. Her course included a week’s work placement at St Vincent’s Hospital in Lismore and another week at St Joseph’s, before graduating in December 2019.

“The aged care manager at St Joseph’s asked me at the end of my work placement whether I would consider applying for a job there,” she says. “At the time I was more interested in pursuing the clinical side but I decided to apply anyway. I’ve loved the journey so far, and it will set me up for what I want to do later on. I’m aiming to work for a year and then study registered nursing at Southern Cross Uni, ” she said.

The NDIS provides Australians who have a permanent and significant disability with the supports they need to live more independently. To talk to a Social Futures Local Area Coordinator, call 1800 522 679.

Do you know someone that would benefit from additional support?

Do you know someone that would benefit from additional support?

At Baptist Care,  we offer a number of services with the aim of providing hope and support to people that are on the margins, at risk or coming out of a crisis. These services are:

Casework – Caseworkers provide practical support to clients helping them to identify goals and supporting them to achieve them. These goals can be anything that helps them get back on their feet creating new pathways forward.  We are able to provide tailored support to meet the individual needs of each client.

Work Development Orders (WDO’s) – WDO’s support people who are unable to pay their fines by helping them engage in other activities such as counselling, volunteering or education to help clear their fines.

Chaplaincy – our chaplain can provide support and a listening ear to help people as they work through the issues of life.

No Interest Loans (NILS) – Our NILS Co-ordinator can work with clients to help them secure a no interest loans for the purchase of for everyday items such as white goods, car repairs or school supplies.

HopeStreet Lismore

If you have any questions about whether the services we offer are appropriate for your clients or you would like to refer someone to us please get in touch either by phone on 0490 298 431 or by email to [email protected]

Our Site: a website by and for women and girls with disability

Our Site: a website by and for women and girls with disability

In March 2020, Women with Disabilities Australia (WWDA) launched a new website by and for women and girls with disability, called Our Site (previously Our Place) – https://oursite.wwda.org.au.

Our Site provides a huge range of information and resources in different formats across five key topics related to the rights of women and girls with disability:

1. Human Rights
2. Leadership and Participation
3. Decision-making and choices
4. Sexual and reproductive health and rights
5. Safety from all forms of violence.

Since the initial launch, there have been some significant changes and additions to Our Site, including:
– Improvements to the Easy Read content and functionality, so that the full website can now be navigated in Easy Read format (see https://oursite-easyread.wwda.org.au)
– A new page on Natural Disasters and Crises and a new page on Coronavirus
– The addition of new real stories told by women with disability.

WWDA will continue to build on and improve the Our Site website into the future to ensure that it remains a current and valuable online resource for women and girls with disability.

As an organisation that works with and for women with disability, we would love for you to help us spread the word about Our Site.

To assist with this, we have attached the following:

– An Our Site Flyer written in Easy Read (accessible PDF)

WWDA Our Site website postcard – Accessible

You can find out about other ways to promote Our Site on the WWDA website here: http://wwda.org.au/promote-our-site/

Thank you for your support and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries or feedback.

Warm regards,

The Women with Disabilities Australia team

Naomi Thomson – Project Manager – Women With Disabilities Australia (WWDA)

Ph: 0448 417 875  Email: [email protected]  Web: www.wwda.org.au  Facebook: ttp://www.facebook.com/WWDA.Australia

Research project: Planning for a better life under the NDIS

Research project: Planning for a better life under the NDIS

A research study, involving several universities, is being carried out to better understand the experience of people in rural, regional and remote Australia who live with a disability and have an NDIS plan.

Planning for a better life with the NDIS

Researchers are looking to  interview people with disability, LACs, NDIS Planners, and Community Connectors, and ECEI agencies who are based
Central Australia and Central Western NSW.

If you have been involved with a number of NDIS planning meetings, your thoughts and experiences would be greatly appreciated. The results of the study will help to plan and design resources and training for people working as formal advocates. and, to improve the planning process for NDIS participants.

Participation is voluntary and would involve an hour and a half conversation in a focus group (either in person or remotely) – or if preferred an individual interview. The information you provide will be de-identified.

If you are interested in sharing your experience contact:

Sarah-Jane Greenaway, Research Assistant Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council, [email protected] or 02 6361 4742

Nettie Flaherty, Research Assistant Centre for Remote Health Alice Springs, [email protected] or 08 89514778

John Gilroy, Chief Investigator The University of Sydney, [email protected] or 0427238776

Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Local headspace Youth Advisory Groups now recruiting!

Local headspace Youth Advisory Groups now recruiting!

headspace Lismore and headspace Tweed Heads are recruiting for new volunteer Youth Advisory Group (YAG) members to ensure young people’s voices and opinions remain front and centre. YAGs make sure that any new initiative from headspace will make a positive difference in the lives of young people.

Some of the projects YAG members are involved with include:

  • plan and run youth events, workshops, school talks, headspace stalls at festivals and more
  • use headspace social media platforms to connect with and empower other young people and their families
  • assist in the design and development of your local headspace centres – shaping the delivery of headspace services, including policy, staff recruitment and training
  • represent headspace at events for local organisations/services/schools
  • learn advocacy skills and meet new people

headspace wants to hear from a diverse range of voices aged 12-25yo who live in the Northern Rivers or Southern Gold Coast, particularly if you have experienced your own struggles or feel passionate about improving the mental health and wellbeing of local young people. You are especially encouraged to apply if you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young person, have a disability or identify as LGBTIQAP+.

If this sounds like something you’d like to be part of, please complete the following expression of interest form here before the 9th August 2020, and we’ll be in contact soon! We can also provide more accessible ways to apply by contacting us. If you have any further questions about the YAG or headspace, please contact your nearest Community Engagement Officer:

Damien Becker | headspace Tweed Heads | 0437 188 715 | [email protected]


Madeline Seely | headspace Lismore | 0418 769 174 | [email protected]

Fred’s Place altered opening hours

Fred’s Place altered opening hours

As a result of COVID Fred’s Place opening hours will be temporarily changed. From next week (19-06-2020) Fred’s Place will be closed on Friday until the end of September.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we will be open as per usual.

Kind regards,

Femke Romeijn | Assistant Team Leader (Work days are Thursday, Friday)

Fred’s Place | St Vincent de Paul Society  |  Lismore Diocesan Central Council

P  07 5536 1906  |  M  0439 607 649  |  E  [email protected]

Fax 07 5536 7543 |  www.vinnies.org.au


Lets Talk – transgender and gender diverse people

Lets Talk – transgender and gender diverse people

Let’s Talk is an opportunity for transgender and gender diverse people to share their story with the community, so we all have a greater understanding of the TGD experience.

Submissions are now open. Submissions are invited to come from all regions. Check it out at https://www.huntergenderalliance.org/lets-talk-exhibit

If you are a TGD person we would love to hear from you & if you are a partner, family member, carer or friend you can provide encouragement or enter a piece yourself.

Submissions close at the end of June and we will be having an official online launch in July.