Different on the Outside, same on the Inside

Different on the Outside, same on the Inside

Social Futures is challenging stereotypes about disability in Central Coast schools. ‘Different on the Outside, Same on the Inside’ is a free program for primary school aged children aimed at breaking down misconceptions and social barriers and encouraging awareness and inclusion for people with disability.

This program is facilitated by Social Futures Local Area Coordinator for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Maree Jenner.

As a person of short stature or dwarfism, Maree engages young people and speaks to her own experience of difference and the challenges faced by “growing up little” in a world built for average height people. 

“I am so passionate about this program. Because I have a physical disability, I am different,” Maree said.

“It is such a good opportunity to go in and talk to children, because they notice things, they are learning. And the earlier you talk to young people, the better. Young people have questions about disability, they are curious about difference. They want to know why that is, and to understand.”

“Having contact with me and becoming familiar with disability helps to remove awkwardness. Through this program we support young people to feel comfortable with difference and open avenues toward understanding and respect,” Maree said.

Children with disability, whether physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, or sensory, are at increased risk of being bullied, which can result in poor mental health, anxiety, depression and even suicide.

“Sadly, bullying happens frequently in our country. But bullying occurs often as a result of ignorance and misunderstanding, and this program wants to rectify that,” Maree said.

Maree is supported in this by Sam Millard, National President of Short Statured People of Australia. 

close up headshot of Sam Millard smiling“The work that Social Futures will be doing through this program will give Short Statured people of all ages a greater opportunity to participate freely in the community without feelings of isolation and angst that a lack of understanding can cause. We also hope that the focus on school-aged children will allow us to continue to tackle the complex issue of bullying together as an organisation and as a community,” Mr Millard said.

If your Central Coast primary school is interested in participating in the Different on the Outside, Same on the Inside Program, contact Social Futures on 1800 522 679.

This program is funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and delivered by Social Futures. Social Futures delivers Local Area Coordination services for the NDIS across more than half of NSW, including the Central Coast.  

To talk to a Local Area Coordinator email [email protected] or call our LAC Hotline on 1800 522 679 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 4:30pm). 

Download the program flyer here

Opportunity Pathways supports access to study and work

Opportunity Pathways supports access to study and work

young woman hanging hi-viz shirts on the line

Social Futures is offering a new program called Opportunity Pathways for Rent Choice recipients and social housing clients to help them access education, training and work in the Northern Rivers region.

The program offers flexible, personalised support to people who want to improve their employment options. Participants will have access to pre-employment training, employment support, post-employment support and housing independence services.

Anyone interested in the program can contact Jason McDonald, Program Manager on 0428 856 546 or by email [email protected].

Opportunity Pathways is a new initiative under Futures Directions in Social Housing NSW.


Auslan signing comes to Byron Writers Festival

Auslan signing comes to Byron Writers Festival

This year the Deaf Community will have more access to the Byron Writers Festival, beginning with an Auslan-signed promotional video developed in collaboration with Social Futures’ Far North Coast (FNC) Ability Links.

The video features FNC Ability Links Co-Manager Sigrid Macdonald introducing the event and explaining the Auslan interpreting services that will be available during the festival, which runs from 2-4 August at Elements of Byron Resort. “It’s great to see Byron Writers Festival in the vanguard of public events realising the need to make themselves more accessible to people with disabilities, including members of the Deaf Community like myself,” Sigrid said.

Download the media release

In collaboration with:


Social Futures joins Everybody’s Home

Social Futures joins Everybody’s Home

Everybody's home campaign auction image

Social Futures is now an Everybody’s Home Campaign partner

Everybody’s Home is led by leading housing associations and homelessness providers. It is calling on governments at all levels to:

  • Support first home buyers
  • Develop a National Housing Strategy
  • Ensure a better deal for renters
  • Provide immediate relief for Australians in chronic rental stress
  • Create a plan to end homelessness by 2030.

To find our more about the campaign and how you can add your voice, visit the Everybody’s Home Website

everybody's home logo

Free skate, scooter and BMX clinics in GRAFTON

Free skate, scooter and BMX clinics in GRAFTON

Get OFF THE WALL this week with FREE skate, scooter and BMX clinics at Grafton Skate Park!

WHEN?  FROM 2-4.30pm onGrafton easter skate park activity

  • Tuesday 16 April – BMX
  • Wednesday 17 April – Scooter
  • Thursday 18 April – Skate

WHERE? Grafton Skate Park

Limited spaces, book your places!

Call Sonya 0427 317 595 | Shaun 0417 598 392 | Ricky 0427 333 281

Parental/carer consent required for young people under 16.



Fifteen fabulous young songwriters will battle it out for prizes

Fifteen fabulous young songwriters will battle it out for prizes

Young Songwriters AwardsFifteen young songwriters have been chosen to perform live at this year’s Lismore Young Songwriters Competition Finalists Showcase on Friday 12 April [tomorrow] at Studio One29, Southern Cross University.

The young songwriters hail from Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Lismore, Lennox Head, Grafton, Evans Head and places in between and will battle it out for more than $11,500 worth of prizes.

Lismore Young Songwriters Competition committee member, Madeline Seely of Social Futures, said prizes on offer included professional RODE microphones, double passes to Splendour in the Grass, mastered track recordings at Rockinghorse Studios, SAE Institute Byron Bay, and Southern Cross University, a fantastic stereo system from The Audio Room, paid gigs at Crankfest Youth Festival, and the Lismore Lantern Parade and more.

“It’s such a great opportunity for our budding musicians to get their name out there, but also to win some real prizes for their talent which can help launch their career,” Madeline said. “The Finalists Showcase is popular and tickets to last year’s event sold out quickly. It’s a free event but it’s important to reserve a ticket well in advance so you don’t miss out.”


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.