Grounds for Celebration

Grounds for Celebration

From forever volunteering to paid employment at a coffee shop? That’s grounds for celebration! 

Sharon Hammond has a wonderful story. From working in volunteer roles all her life, she has finally secured paid employment in a position where she is valued, liked and respected.

43 year old Sharon is from Lismore in Northern NSW. She has an intellectual learning disability and has been receiving NDIS supports to help her with speech therapy and social and community participation. But it wasn’t until she met her Local Area Coordinator, Trudy Collins, who completed her second NDIS plan that her life really began to change.

Trudy spent long hours researching ways to best utilise the capacity building funding available for Sharon in her plan. It was through this funding that Sharon met Allen Bowcock from OnQ Disability Supports.

“We’re going to find you a proper job,” Allen said when he met the bright and warm Sharon. “Not volunteer work, and not a supported role. A proper job.”

Allen introduced Sharon to Nat Byron from Nat’s Coffee in Alstonville, an award winning wholesale coffee roasting business with a small on-site café attached. Nat knew exactly what to expect from working with someone with an intellectual disability, as his mother had a traumatic brain injury herself.

The capacity building funding allowed for on-site support during a three week work experience program where Sharon was trained on how to use the iPad cash register program, how to service customers and take orders, cleaning and food preparation. Sharon was even given barista training and was encouraged to practice this skill by making coffees for herself, her support coordinator and other staff. Nowadays she can make a mean cappuccino!

Her NDIS transport funding was used to help Sharon catch a public bus from her home in Lismore to the TAFE at Wollongbar where she was taught to call for a BConX connecting service which takes her straight to her place of employment. After having a support person with her for the first few times, Sharon now is able to catch public transport to and from work without assistance.

Straight after the three week work experience program, Sharon was offered employment and five months on, has become a valued member of the Nat’s Coffee team. So much so, that although they plan to lease the coffee shop business in order to concentrate on the wholesale coffee section, her employer has written a clause into the lease agreement to maintain Sharon’s employment. They have also offered to transfer her role to the wholesale section to work with ordering and packaging should Sharon prefer this to her current duties.

When asked how she feels about her new job at Nat’s Café, Sharon simply says “good”, but from the look on her face, you can see it means the world.

Sharon’s employer, Nat Byron from Nat’s Café

Social Futures Local Area Coordination Program assists people with disability to access the NDIS program, and to have greater choice and control over their lives.

Using her NDIS plan

Sharon’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • greater independence through learning to catch public transport
  • increased skills and confidence through on work training
  • gain full time paid employment

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Tackling bullying one class at a time

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’.

Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young person. The video, which has been viewed 2.5 million times and shared by more than 65,000 people, highlighted how just damaging bullying can be and the dire need for education in schools.

Happily, Quaden’s story appeared to land on a bright note with support flowing in from around the world. But Quaden’s case is one in many, and bullying for people with a disability is overwhelmingly common and debilitating. 

Young people with a disability are more likely than their peers to have poor mental health[1] and recent research[2] suggests almost half of the poorer mental health we see in teenagers with a disability is due to bullying.

But a new program being delivered by Social Futures aims to tackle bullying head on.

The ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’ program is the brain child of Social Futures Local Area Coordinator, Prue McCarthy. An educational inclusion awareness program about disability designed for children 8-11 years, this program has been received with enthusiasm by schools in Western NSW.

‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’ 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. 

“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.”

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.”

“This is why I like the program so much,” states Prue. “Because I am a presenter with a disability walking into the class room, I get to observe the students that might be laughing at me. But by the end of the program it is these children that are asking most of the questions to find out more about me and my 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.

The program is currently delivered across the Orange NSW local government area with Social Futures looking to expand to Orana far west.

If your school would like to be involved, contact Social Futures on 1800 522 679.

[1] https://miami.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/mental-health-issues-in-children-and-adolescents-with-chronic-ill

[2] https://academic.oup.com/ije/article/47/5/1402/5066450?guestAccessKey=92b80704-1fbd-4548-b41b-1fdcc02acbaa

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Northern Rivers transport guides

Northern Rivers transport guides

If you are looking for information about transport options in the Northern Rivers including bus routes, community and medical transport, taxi, coach and other services that operate in your area, visit goingplaces.org.au and download the transport guide for your region.

We have just updated the transport guides for the Ballina, Byron, Clarence, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond regions to ensure they have the most up to date information about available services. There is also a guide available for Tweed provided by the Tweed Shire Council.

You can also use the link to the NSW Trip Planner to plan journeys using public transport.

This going places website is part of Social Futures Transport Development Project, a regional initiative funded by Transport for NSW, focused on reducing transport disadvantage and improving access to affordable transport options for residents of the Northern Rivers.

For more information about the Transport Development Project email [email protected]

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union.

“I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby league injuries, are really simple.

“You could be in a car accident and roll 15 times and have a broken collarbone, but you bump your head playing rugby and you have this level of disability. And everything’s gone, nothing in the fingers, no feelings, no sensory or motor response. I can’t feel my legs, can’t move my legs.”

Over the past 23 years since his accident, Rocky has seen many changes in the disability support sector and has even been inspired to start a charity, Hearts in Union (heartsinunion.com.au), which supports people injured through playing rugby union.

Since joining the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in June 2018, Rocky has been supported by Social Futures’ Local Area Coordination (LAC) program in his home town of Orange.

Now, as Rocky goes through the NDIS plan review process, he reflects on how his life has changed and what the NDIS has meant for him, his wife and their 12 year old twin sons. 

He reports that the care made available to him through his NDIS funding has been of great benefit to him and his family.

“The care is absolutely fantastic – you get more care,” Rocky said. “That is without a doubt better.

“If you’re not well and you’re in bed, you need someone to sit there just so you don’t have a blocked catheter and autonomic dysreflexia (a form of hypertension that can be life-threatening). To avoid that is really important – you don’t want to be on your own and not able to help yourself.

“Because the level of personal care I need is now fully funded, it allows my wife to go to work and that in turn reduces the financial pressure on us,” Rocky said.

Rocky is currently looking forward to undertaking some home modifications and receiving new equipment, especially his long-awaited bed – all funded through his NDIS plan.

“Because the level of personal care I need is now fully funded, it allows my wife to go to work and that in turn reduces the financial pressure on us”

Rocky

NDIS Participant

Using his NDIS plan

Rocky’s NDIS supports have helped her/him:

  • Access the personal care he needs
  • Free up quality time with his family
  • Reduce financial pressure on his family.

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Continuing to deliver support services throughout COVID-19

Social Futures is committed to the continuation of delivering support services in a safe, practical and innovative way while navigating COVID-19.

What do you need to know:

  • We are taking daily steps to try to make sure our offices and facilities are safe to access
  • We are asking our staff and community members with flu-like symptoms not to come into Social Futures but to call us instead where we can discuss other options on how we can assist you.
  • Where possible we will offer other options such as phone services in order to continue to provide supports during this time
  • Your health and wellbeing matters so we encourage you to stay informed on how to best look after yourself and others by going to NSW Dept of Health or the World Health Organisation

We appreciate that this may be a difficult time and will be providing information as to what is changing as often as possible.

To reach out to one of our NDIS Local Area Coordinators please call: 1800 522 679

Or to speak with reception regarding any of other programs please call:  (02) 6620 1800 or email [email protected]

Or contact these programs directly:

Connecting Home: 1800 048310, Family Referral Service: 1800 338 774, Links to Learning: 0400 680 300

StandBy: 0417 119 298, Choices: 0429 427 496, Reconnect: 0427 317 595, Get it Together: 0427 317 595

Homeless Youth Assistance Program: 0429 427 496 / 0427 317 595 / 0438 012 677, Youth On Track: 0437 784 823

Headspace Lismore: 02 6625 0200, Headspace Tweed: 07 5589 8700, Elements: 0429 216 841

Putting family life back in the picture

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life.

For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be truly transformative.

So it was for Narissa Phelps, whose son Joshua has lived with bipolar disorder from the age of 16.

“His condition came on when he hit puberty, and for the next 20 years until he joined the NDIS his life was incredibly restricted,” Narissa says.

“He experiences social anxiety and has never worked. He struggles with going out and rarely initiates activities on his own, including housework and meal preparation. Josh’s diet was both limited and poor.”

Joshua, who is now 37, is the eldest of Narissa’s children and lives close to her in the northern NSW town of Lismore.

“He lives in his own one-bedroom unit and for years it was up to family to keep him on track,” she says. “It was so hard to see him living in squalor, and he resented me trying to keep order and cleanliness in his life.”

Joshua’s journey since he joined the NDIS has been life-changing, both for him and his family.

“Now he has a support worker go around to his house three hours a day, six days a week. They help him with housework, work out weekly menus, take him shopping, play board games with him.

“His unit stays clean and he has several good meals a week. On top of that, someone comes over every night at 6pm to make sure he takes his medication.

“Every now and then support workers will take him out bowling or for a game of pool, which he loves. The workers are predominantly males around his own age, so he’s having fun with peers that he lacked previously.”

Joshua gets to have social time in the wider community while Narissa, her other son and Joshua’s father get to enjoy time with him free of distractions.

“I can finally enjoy a mother-son relationship,” she says.

Narissa’s personal experience has reinforced her sense that the NDIS has made “a huge positive difference” in the lives of many families that she knows.

“I’m retired now but I used to support students with disabilities at the school where I worked. I see my old students around town and it’s clear that they’ve blossomed so much under the new system.

“The NDIS has been very beneficial for me. The support I receive is great because I see someone regularly, and it means that I have company every day.”

 

Joshua

NDIS Participant

The NDIS provides Australians under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability the supports they need to live more independently and to increase their social and economic participation.

The NDIS has provided support to more than 104,000 people across NSW. There are more than 300,000 people who have benefitted from the NDIS nationally, including close to 100,000 people who have received support for the first time.

Social Futures is a National Disability Insurance Scheme Partner in the Community.
Our Local Area Coordination services connect participants to the NDIS in regional New South Wales.

To contact your nearest LAC call 1800 522 679

Read more participant stories

Tackling bullying one class at a time

Schools are looking toward an inclusive future thanks to awareness program, ‘Different on the Outside but the Same on the Inside’. Many of us saw the distraught video of nine year old Quaden Bayles and our hearts wrenched seeing the effect of bullying upon a young...

read more

Care factor makes all the difference for Rocky

In 1996, at 29 years of age, Rocky Mileto sustained a severe spinal cord injury from a tackle in a game of rugby union. “I had the ball, it was one on one. Just the wrong angle, wrong timing,” Rocky said. “It was that easy, that simple.  Most injuries, rugby or rugby...

read more

Putting family life back in the picture

Many people who have family members with disabilities experience the sadness and frustration of being so busy in their support roles that they can’t enjoy the pleasures of family life. For them, the benefits of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be...

read more

Muscular dystrophy won’t stop Lachie

It has been one year exactly since Lachlan Reardon got his first NDIS plan. Soon to turn 11-years-old, this local Mudgee boy has come a long way in a single year. Lachlan lives with mild muscular dystrophy. He has hyper flexibility and low muscle mass. He’s always...

read more

Everyone has ability. Everyone has a dream.

It has been just over a year since Ability Dreaming opened its doors and like any new business, there have been highs and lows according to Managing Director, Joel Everett. The first 12 months of any business is a notoriously difficult time for anyone, but adding a...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Delivering services around COVID-19

Social Futures is committed to the continuation of delivering support services in a safe, practical and innovative way while navigating COVID-19.