From homebound to outward bound

From homebound to outward bound

Nicole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2009. She tells her story in her own words:

I went to the doctor because I had three cold fingers and that’s when I got the diagnosis. It was devastating. I was a full-time working mother and it seemed like my world had collapsed.

 

The MS soon progressed and I was living permanently in a chair. This left me homebound and financially it was a disaster. My husband could only work three days a week on reduced hours so he could look after me. Our combined income was reduced to just $30,000.

I couldn’t afford to ever get out, I couldn’t get a wheelchair, couldn’t see my friends. It was just depressing and that’s what I thought life was going to be like for me from then on. Before too long I developed anxiety.

Then the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) arrived. I had my first meeting with Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Katrina from Social Futures in March 2018 and from that moment my life and my family’s life has changed, out of this world. Just amazing.

With assistance from disability services provider Breakthru I was able to hire transport and a support worker to take me out. My first trip out was to Bunnings – can you believe it? Bunnings! And I loved it! 

Everyone gets a break

My friends can now come over and take me out for lunch, I have a support worker so my husband can get a break and play golf once a week. I have a cleaner and my kids don’t have to come and look after me. I can go to physio myself in my new powered wheelchair.

Now I’m just so happy and so shocked all at the same time. The NDIS has been life changing. Before the NDIS I couldn’t afford anything, I was sitting in a chair, I was so depressed. I used to do art therapy, I did it for hours and hours and hours. And I thought, that’s all there was. That’s now my life. And that’s all it’s going to be from now on.

My husband – he had to do everything. He was a man trying to style my hair! Now I have help. And now I have a life. I almost have to have a booking diary I am so busy these days!

The physio has also been great. My legs are a bit better now and she has me up doing a few steps. That has helped with my anxiety too.

I was a barmaid for 26 years, I was a really social person. After my MS diagnosis I didn’t visit the supermarket for years, but the other day I went down in my power chair and it took me hours to do the shopping with all the people stopping me to say hello.

Home modifications approved

I’ve just had home modifications approved for a deck and a ramp so I’ll soon be able to get out my front door for the first time in six years. With help from Reita (my new LAC from Social Futures) I’m going to apply for bathroom and laundry modifications so I can even do laundry. We’re looking into car modifications too so I can get my power chair in the car.

It was a rough start with the NDIS because I didn’t understand it. And letting people into my home and my life was challenging, but it’s been lifesaving.

Now I’m sitting on a cushion that’s helping my pain from sitting all the time and that’s also funded by the NDIS. What can I say, other than I love it.

 

“My first trip out was to Bunnings – can you believe it? Bunnings! And I loved it!” (Nicole)

Nicole’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Rebuild her social life
  • Enjoy quality family time
  • Improve her mobility
  • Purchase key equipment.

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

From homebound to outward bound

Nicole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2009. She tells her story in her own words: I went to the doctor because I had three cold fingers and that's when I got the diagnosis. It was devastating. I was a full-time working mother and it seemed like...

read more

Tailored care helps Joseph spread his wings

Joseph's birthday in November last year was a double celebration - turning 40, and spending his first year as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.   He marked the occasion with a concert in front of 80 invited guests, singing covers of his...

read more

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

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Tailored care helps Joseph spread his wings

Tailored care helps Joseph spread his wings

Joseph’s birthday in November last year was a double celebration – turning 40, and spending his first year as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.

 

He marked the occasion with a concert in front of 80 invited guests, singing covers of his favourite songs with his sister Lara.

“People loved it, in fact we all loved it,” his mum Robyn says. “It was wonderful to see all of his self-confidence shining through, and just knowing that he now has the support to keep exploring his potential and growing as a person.”

Joseph has Down Syndrome and, despite living independently for the past 12 years, until he received his first NDIS plan he had never been anywhere on his own away from his family in Mudgee.

First trip away

“NDIS support allowed him to go away on a camping trip to Bowral for two weeks last year,” Robyn says. “It was such a big thing for him, giving him the opportunity to boost his wellbeing and engage with people and activities outside his familiar home environment.

“He came home just beaming.”

Joseph and his family were supported through the planning process by Bathurst-based Social Futures Local Area Coordinator Jodie. The family opted to manage Joseph’s plan on his behalf, and they have used the opportunity to employ support workers who know him and know what he likes doing.

“They’re much more attentive to what he wants to do in his life and they’re consistent in what they do,” Robyn says. “It’s a lot more personalised.

“They provide in-home support three afternoons a week, helping Joseph with meal preparation and making sure all his washing and cleaning gets done.

“Outside the home they take him swimming (which he loves), to gym training and out to afternoon teas with his friends.”

Work and play

Joseph also works four days a week at the Mudgee Shire Council’s recycling centre and one day a week doing coffee deliveries around town for a local café.

His active work and social life meant that even after he moved out of home his family had to do a lot of the drop-offs and pick-ups.

“We live on a property out of town and we both work, so to run backwards and forwards into Mudgee was always a bit of a drain,” Robyn says.

“Now it all gets sorted by the support workers. Joseph is so busy that we have to make appointments to see him!”

If there is one thing his family would like for Joseph, it would be for him to meet someone he could have a long-term relationship with.

“He’s very happy with where he is right now but it would be great if one day he finds someone he can share his life with,” Robyn says.

 

“Joseph is so busy now that we have to make appointments to see him!” (Robyn, Joseph’s mum)

Joseph’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Improve his self-confidence
  • Boost his independence
  • Engage more in the community
  • Rely less 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

From homebound to outward bound

Nicole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2009. She tells her story in her own words: I went to the doctor because I had three cold fingers and that's when I got the diagnosis. It was devastating. I was a full-time working mother and it seemed like...

read more

Tailored care helps Joseph spread his wings

Joseph's birthday in November last year was a double celebration - turning 40, and spending his first year as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.   He marked the occasion with a concert in front of 80 invited guests, singing covers of his...

read more

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

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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.

Read the FULL MEDIA RELEASE

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:

 

‘Fight like a girl’ self-defence class sure to be a hit

‘Fight like a girl’ self-defence class sure to be a hit

Coach self defence training

Fight Like A Girl self-defence has come back to B-Space in Ballina for a six-week course starting 23 May 2019. This is a girls’ only class that builds confidence and empowers participants with useful skills in a safe and fun environment.
The course is being taught by Sensei Rachel Whiting, who has over 30 years’ experience teaching martial arts and self-defence. She is passionate about teaching girls the skills they need to keep themselves safe as the situation arises.

 

Download media release
Remembering Sorry Day …

Remembering Sorry Day …

the word sorry in the sky against sydney opera house

… and the impact of the Stolen Generations on all Aboriginal people in Australia. Our thoughts are with our staff, our participants, our wider communities and their loved ones. We remember and honour Elders past, present and those who are yet to come.

Sorry Day has been held annually on 26 May since 1998. It provides an important reminder for everyone in Australia to remember the past policies of forced child removal. On Sorry Day we reflect on the sad and painful history of the Stolen Generations and recognise moments of resilience, healing and the power of saying Sorry.

The first Sorry Day was held ten years after the publication of the Bringing Them Home report. However a report on government services, released by the Productivity Commission last year, said there were 17,664 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in 2016-17, compared with 9,070 in 2007-08. So is sorry enough?

Read more about the Stolen Generations and the history of Sorry Day in this fantastic information sheet from Reconciliation Australia.

Patricia puts the circus behind her

Patricia puts the circus behind her

The circus in Patricia’s head started when she was a small child growing up in Sydney.

 

“Even before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder I always knew something was wrong,” she says. “When I was very young I used to take days off school because I felt unwell, and from eight onwards I was hearing voices.

“Fortunately my mum was schizophrenic so she always understood where I was coming from. She’d allow me to stay at home and rest.

“To be honest she was my best friend.”

Patricia still experiences anxiety, depression and the occasional schizophrenic episode but has learnt to manage the highs and lows.

“When I was young it was just Mum and I who were affected but a lot of illness runs through our family and for my brother and two sisters, unfortunately it has hit later in life,” she says.

Drugs and alcohol

By her late teens Patricia had turned to drugs and alcohol to help cope with her mental illness, which ultimately left her bedridden.

“I was just a nightmare to know but luckily I met a GP who referred me to a psychiatrist, and as a result my condition was finally properly diagnosed,” she says. “So it was at that point that I got away from the drug dealers and moved back home, where my parents took me in and gave me all the help in the world.

“I went to Alcoholics Anonymous and with the support of older people in the group I was able to give up drink and drugs. I stayed with that group for 15 years and from the age of 26 I’ve been clean.”

Patricia only moved to NSW’s Northern Rivers when she was 40, initially on holiday.

A new home

“I had a breakdown in Byron Bay and the ambulance took me to Richmond Clinic in Lismore – and I’ve stayed here ever since.

“Some of the staff have become very close friends and continue to look out for me, they’re always checking in to see how I’m going. With their help I’ve been able to avoid another breakdown for 20 years.”

Patricia joined the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2017. She says it has made a really big difference to her outlook on life – especially with consistent support from Lorna, her Social Futures Local Area Coordinator.

“I’d been used to getting support through self-help groups involving people with similar mental health issues to my own, but my NDIS-funded carers are mostly all people with families from the mainstream and it’s just a much more positive vibe.

“I knew I needed the change to help with my recovery but I didn’t know how to go about it. Now that I’ve made the change I just feel I’ve entered a whole new chapter of my life. The NDIS came just at the right time.”

Out and about

Patricia’s support workers complement her existing social and church networks by taking her out for community activities, and also help maintain her flat with cleaning and maintenance as required.

She’s also able to use her plan funds to access therapeutic support and now goes on group tours with local NDIS provider Hart Tours.

“Once a month I go out with a group of old ladies (I’m the youngest one there!) and they are all so nice. We do a whole day tour in the bus going to places like Kingscliff, Mullumbimby, Pottsville, Ballina and so on – it’s just great getting back out into the countryside again.

“Now I’m thinking of volunteering and even looking for paid work – I’m only 63 after all!

“I thought I was going to become one of those weird people that you see around and now all of this has happened, it’s just been so positive and exactly what I needed.”

“I thought I was going to become one of those weird people that you see around and now all of this had happened, it’s just been so positive and exactly what I needed” (Patricia)

Patricia’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Re-engage in mainstream community life
  • Access therapeutic support
  • Go on group expeditions
  • Consider volunteer or paid work

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

From homebound to outward bound

Nicole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2009. She tells her story in her own words: I went to the doctor because I had three cold fingers and that's when I got the diagnosis. It was devastating. I was a full-time working mother and it seemed like...

read more

Tailored care helps Joseph spread his wings

Joseph's birthday in November last year was a double celebration - turning 40, and spending his first year as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.   He marked the occasion with a concert in front of 80 invited guests, singing covers of his...

read more

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

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Right Support. Right Time. 2019 Better Chances Regional Forum

Right Support. Right Time. 2019 Better Chances Regional Forum

The Right Support. Right Time. 2019 Better Chances Regional Forum held on 13 June 2019 at Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre focused on and explored the question, can children, young people and families we work with get the right support at the right time?

The event attracted 135 attendees representing 46 organisations. The day was facilitated by Naomi Moran, General Manager at the Koori Mail and we had 16 presentations and 4 workshops. All of the presenters were from the Northern Rivers, with the exception of two NSW Government presenters from Sydney who joined with The Family Centre to present on the results of a child protection pilot project. There was a really strong focus on Aboriginal culture, and understanding how the whole sector can work more supportively alongside Aboriginal workers, organisations and communities. Other themes for the day included connecting across organisations and systems, acting on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and connecting with community in our work.

Evaluation told us that 95% of attendees surveyed thought the forum was engaging and interesting, and 96% of those surveyed learnt new things or made new connections that will assist them with their work.

Participants also told us that most useful and enjoyable sessions on the day were Helene Collard, (We Al-li), Carmen Stewart (It Takes a Town) and Naomi Moran (Forum facilitator).

Click below to download the presentations from the forum.

 

The number of recommendations were developed from the day which will inform the BCF’s work program and results framework. We thank everyone who contributed to making this event a great and challenging day for the sector. 

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year’s 2019 Archibald Portrait Prize – the biggest art competition in the land.

 

Zion has Down Syndrome and experiences difficulty communicating through the spoken word. However, he has no such difficulty showing his love of life through his vibrant and colourful art, which includes sketches, painted canvases and ceramics.

With his NDIS plan in place and support from his Social Futures Local Area Coordinator, Zion is now set to take his art to a much wider audience.

Born in London and spending his teenage years in Sydney, Zion’s arrival in the North Coast NSW town of Mullumbimby coincided with his artistic flowering. His natural ability was nurtured by local disability service provider RED Inc, which set up an art studio in the Byron Bay industrial estate for Zion and other clients who had shown artistic talent.

Learning the trade

“They were very encouraging, providing art teachers and showing Zion the basics of sketching and painting,” his mother Christine says.

“Then after a while I discovered that one of my friends used to be an art teacher, so she also worked with Zion for a few years. She was able to work with him here at home twice a week, and she was so excited by Zion’s potential that she was happy to keep coming on a voluntary basis.

“One of the big things about having NDIS funding is that at last it allowed us to pay her, which was long overdue.”

Zion has exhibited his distinctive naïve and colourful artwork in many group shows but in the past few years he’s started to hold solo shows on his own. Christine says his work is now greatly admired and collected, particularly on the North Coast, and Zion has had several commissions. His work is in private art collections in the US and the UK as well as here in Australia.

Wider horizons

One show in particular, ‘Picasso would be jealous’, was so successful that it allowed him to fund a trip to the United States and Mexico late last year, including paying for his art teacher to accompany him. She did art with him in the mornings and evenings, and he always went out with his art materials and sketched in the street.

“It was great – Mexico is absolutely fabulous,” Christine says.

Zion’s Mexican experience was the inspiration behind his most recent show, ‘Viva’, which showcased his watercolours, an addition to his more customary acrylic painting style.

Although Zion’s Archibald Prize entry – a portrait of Aboriginal elder, artist, musician and educator Walangari Karntawarra – did not make the list of finalists when they were announced on 2 May, Christine said she was just happy that he had entered.

Keeping busy

In the meantime, Zion has plenty to keep him busy beyond his artwork. His NDIS plan funds support seven days a week, both in-home and at service provider United Disability, as well as community engagement, exercise, speech therapy and participation in a local drama group.

“Monica, Zion’s LAC, has been fabulous about helping us get all of our supports in place and explaining how we can use his funding,” Christine says.

“My desire is for Zion to be recognised for his ability rather than his disability. I also hope that his success shows just what people with disabilities are capable of – there are just so many amazingly talented people out there who can shine, given the chance.”

To see Zion’s artwork, go to www.zionart.com.au or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/zionstewartartist/.

“My desire is for Zion to be recognised for his ability rather than his disability. I also hope that his success shows just what people with disabilities are capable of – there are so many amazingly talented people out there who can shine, given the chance” (Christine Levy, mother)

Zion’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Develop his artistic ability
  • Participate in community activities
  • Maintain his physical health
  • Improve his speech

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

From homebound to outward bound

Nicole was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in December 2009. She tells her story in her own words: I went to the doctor because I had three cold fingers and that's when I got the diagnosis. It was devastating. I was a full-time working mother and it seemed like...

read more

Tailored care helps Joseph spread his wings

Joseph's birthday in November last year was a double celebration - turning 40, and spending his first year as a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant.   He marked the occasion with a concert in front of 80 invited guests, singing covers of his...

read more

From hobby sketching to the Archibald Prize

When Zion Levy Stewart first started sketching people who visited his family home at age 20, everyone thought it might help him pass the time. Twenty years on, this National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant was an entrant in this year's 2019 Archibald...

read more

There’s no place like home

Just a few years ago, Tammy had reached the point of considering moving into supported accommodation due to the impact of her disability. The long-term Forbes resident was increasingly isolated and incapacitated by Devic’s disease, caused by the inflammation and...

read more

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

When Zac Oatley moved to Yamba on NSW's North Coast with his family two years ago it was the start of a new life in more ways than one. Not only was it a change of scenery from his native Queensland, it was also the start of his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

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* indicates required



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

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