Celebrating five years of NDIS in regional Australia

Written byChristine Tondorf
Published on30 Sep, 2021
Nick P

RELEASED: September, 2021

Thousands of people in regional New South Wales have joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) since it launched in mid-2016.   

The not-for-profit organisation, Social Futures, is an NDIS Partner in the Community providing support to almost 20,000 in northern regional New South Wales. 

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said the NDIS has created a seismic shift in the way people with a disability are supported, and Social Futures is proud of its role in helping to deliver the program.   

“It supports people living with disability and considers needs over a lifetime, not short-term. Social Futures has turned lives around here by helping to deliver the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS),” Mr Davies said. “This has made a world of difference to individuals and families.”   

Mr Davies said Social Futures and the NDIS worked to maximise people’s independence and their participation in the community and workforce.    

“The NDIS allows people to choose the services they require and shape their support package around their own unique needs.  We are investing in people’s independence and delivering brighter futures.”    

Nick’s story 

From being a black belt karate champion at 12 years of age to needing to use a wheelchair at 14, it’s fair to say the past few years have been a roller coaster ride for Bathurst student Nick. 

Nick is now 17 years old and studying business at Bathurst TAFE. He is looking towards a career in finance.  

Unbeknown to Nick and his family, he had inherited a rare genetic condition called Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease which escalated with the onset of puberty.  

The disease affects peripheral nerves resulting in weakness in the musculature, it gets progressively worse over time and there is no cure. 

Nick’s diagnosis prompted tests on the rest of his immediate family, and these revealed that his mother Tanya and one of his older brothers also had the condition.  

“Finally, I knew what had led to my hip replacements and other physical problems, and why my boys had to have remedial procedures on their legs and feet,” says Tanya.  

Tanya says Nick’s condition has been particularly difficult for him as he has always been sporty, excelling at AFL, golf, cricket – ‘pretty much whatever he turned his hand to’. 

Tanya describes the past two years as ‘a whirlwind’ for Nick. 

“He’s an amazing person, very resilient,” says Tanya.  

However, things really came to a head just after Christmas, when Nick could no longer do many simple everyday things and his loan wheelchair had to be returned to the hospital.  

“When (NDIS partner) Social Futures opened its new Bathurst office in March I went straight in and asked to speak to a Local Area Coordinator – and got Jo!” says Tanya.  

“Within eight weeks of our pre-planning session with Jo, Nick had his First Plan, and since then things have had a massive turn for the better.”  

Nick’s plan provides funding for a Support Coordinator who has helped organise modifications to the carport and bathroom inside the family home, as well as widening footpaths around the house and putting a ramp outside the back steps.  

Nick has been assessed for a power wheelchair and this should be organised soon. In the meantime a local engineering firm has built a desk into his existing mobility scooter with NDIS funding to make school and home life easier.  

Last, but not least, Nick loves fishing and now we have the assistance of a support worker who can go with Nick to his favourite spots.  

Nick is enrolled in business studies at Bathurst TAFE, and although he says online learning can be challenging he has kept studying though lockdown. 

Using his NDIS plan  

Nick’s NDIS supports have helped him:  

  • Make modifications to the family home  
  • Get assessed for a new power wheelchair  
  • Make modifications to his existing mobility scooter  
  • Go fishing! 

(Photo: Nick with Social Futures staff)

Media inquiries: Christine Tondorf | Media and Communications Lead 0427 556 892