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.

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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.”

CLICK TO BOOK TICKETS WHILE THEY LAST

Zac’s change of scenery pays off

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 (NDIS) journey.

 

The 10-year-old schoolboy has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic, complicated by dystonia – a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm involuntarily.

Mum Crystie says that since the move and the start of his NDIS supports, Zac “is one happy kid”.

“Moving to Yamba has been a great experience for Zac,” Crystie says. “He’s now in Year 5 and being really well supported at school in a mainstream class. 

“Zac physically can’t do much, including feeding himself. However, his verbal skills are slowly getting better and he understands most of what you tell him.

“He enjoys socialising but he’s got his own way of letting you know when he wants ‘alone time’!”

Support worker of choice

Crystie manages Zac’s NDIS plan herself. After two years, she finds that self-management brings many benefits, such as flexibility in choosing the support worker of her choice.

“I met this gentleman back in 2017 when we were both undertaking a Certificate III Individual Learning Support course at TAFE. He’s basically more of a mate to Zac than a carer and Zac loves him. They’re always going out to the beach, to the skatepark or the shops together.

“Zac’s happy and I’m happy. After all these years of struggling to fund Zac’s care through working multiple jobs and not having a spare minute, finally my husband Ross and I can have some time for each other.”

NDIS funding has also allowed Crystie to purchase a range of assistive technology for Zac including an electric wheelchair, a standframe, a walker, Eye Gaze communication technology, orthotic shoes and bath aids.

Other supports include speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, all organised with the help of Social Futures Local Area Coordinator Susan Knight.

“We’re working on building his independence and eventually we’d like to build the ‘Zac house’ to cater to his long-term needs,” Crystie says.

Crowdfunding campaign

In the meantime the focus is on Zac’s upcoming femur rotation surgery scheduled for July this year, a procedure that will allow him to straighten his legs for the first time.

“Zac is a tough cookie but the recovery period is going to be six to eight weeks, so it will be challenging. However, the payoff will be that he will be able to walk much better.”

Zac’s third Plan begins in May and the family is simultaneously running a crowdfunding campaign to finance extra equipment for when Zac gets out of hospital, such as a heated spa for hydrotherapy and a hi-lo lift bed.

“Our aim is to raise $12,000 and we’re well on our way,” Crystie says. “After all this time, we’re finally able to look forward to the future with confidence.”

 

“Eventually we’d like to build the ‘Zac house’ to cater to his long-term needs” (Crystie, mum)

Zac’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Become more independent
  • Access therapeutic supports
  • Purchase a range of assistive technology
  • Enjoy more quality family 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

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui and her father Don (pictured here with LAC Cindy at left) have overcome the sorts of odds that would have defeated most people many times over – and still come up smiling.   The story begins in 1980 when, as a 15 year old, Jacqui was a passenger in a car...

read more

Jordan swaps Struggle Street for a social whirl

When Denise gave birth to her son Jordan, the main concern was that he was three months premature.    “He was born early due to an infection but beyond that he was just a normal, beautiful baby boy,” she says. But shortly after Jordan returned home with his...

read more

Roger steals the show

The first words out of Roger’s mouth each morning when he wakes up are ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’, because he’s hoping it is a day he can go to the Vivability day program that he loves. He can access the program with funding in his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

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Budget underwhelming for Northern Rivers residents

Budget underwhelming for Northern Rivers residents

Australian Commowealth Crest and words Budget 2019-20

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies has welcomed the Federal Budget announcement that $527.9 million has been set aside for the proposed Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With a Disability – but says there is little else to celebrate for residents of the Northern Rivers.

“Congestion-busting initiatives are all well and good for big city residents but we actually want some decent social and economic infrastructure in places such as the Northern Rivers,” Mr Davies said.

“Beyond the Royal Commission there’s not much for vulnerable people in this Budget.”

Mr Davies said the most obvious area overlooked by the Budget was the urgent need to lift the Newstart allowance, as called for by organisations including the Australian Council of Social Service and the Business Council of Australia.

Read full media release

Get the full budget details from the Australian Treasury

Listen to Tony’s interview with Bruce Mackenzie (ABC North Coast) on Wednesday 3 April, 2019

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy blossoms as independence grows

Katy is the apple of her parents’ eye but they don’t shy away from the tough times they have experienced in raising her.

 

Now 30 years old, Katy has a significant intellectual disability and other medical issues and has required 24/7 care for her entire life. For virtually all of this time the caring responsibilities have fallen on mum Jen and dad Neil.

“Katy requires full-time care and help with most daily living tasks,” Jen says. “This means she cannot live independently, or access community events and social situations by herself. Her options have always been severely limited and she’s been fully dependent on us for everything.”

With the assistance of Local Area Coordinator Arwen operating out of Social Futures’ Tweed office, last year Jen and Neil were able to set up Katy’s first National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan.

Connecting with peers

“The NDIS can be a challenge to negotiate but it’s doable,” says Neil. “Now that Katy’s a participant, it has completely changed her life.”

Katy’s NDIS funding has enabled her to attend a “great” disability day program with Coolangatta-based service provider Lifebridge, four days a week. She engages in swimming, art, sports, recreational activities, community access, team games, and most importantly, connecting with peers to form friendships. 

Her artwork has also been featured in an exhibition organised by Lifebridge.

“Katy’s been so much happier gaining more independence, and her self-esteem has greatly increased,” Jen says.

Working on wellbeing

NDIS funding has also meant Katy can get additional visits from a physiotherapist and a dietitian, which have improved her overall health.

Another very significant outcome has been the in-home care that Katy has been able to access. She’s started the journey of living independently from her parents, in an appropriate and stress-free way thanks to the NDIS funding.

“Katy’s quality of life has improved dramatically,” Jen says. “It would not have been possible without this funding.”

“The NDIS can be a challenge but it’s doable” (Neil, dad)

Katy’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Participate in community activities
  • Form friendships with peers
  • Develop her artistic skills
  • Improve her health
  • Access in-home respite care

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

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui and her father Don (pictured here with LAC Cindy at left) have overcome the sorts of odds that would have defeated most people many times over – and still come up smiling.   The story begins in 1980 when, as a 15 year old, Jacqui was a passenger in a car...

read more

Jordan swaps Struggle Street for a social whirl

When Denise gave birth to her son Jordan, the main concern was that he was three months premature.    “He was born early due to an infection but beyond that he was just a normal, beautiful baby boy,” she says. But shortly after Jordan returned home with his...

read more

Roger steals the show

The first words out of Roger’s mouth each morning when he wakes up are ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’, because he’s hoping it is a day he can go to the Vivability day program that he loves. He can access the program with funding in his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW’s Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.

 

Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the support of his family and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) there’s no telling how far he can go in the entertainment world.

In Nathan’s own words: “Today Tweed Heads, tomorrow Hollywood!”

Nathan has Down Syndrome and two years ago was also diagnosed with autism, just before being accepted onto the NDIS and getting his First Plan.

Tailored supports

With his NDIS funding and the support of his Local Area Coordinator Monica, who works for Social Futures in Tweed Heads, he’s been able to tailor his supports much more precisely to improve his fitness and help achieve his dreams.

Last year he starred in a short film called ‘The Cover’, made by a local Tweed Heads production company that was entered in the 2018 Focus on Ability Short Film Festival. It didn’t win but earned lots of praise for its powerful message of acceptance.

However, Nathan’s biggest focus is on the ‘Night of Abilities’ showcase for Tweed coast performers with disabilities. Nathan came up with the idea several years ago and his family, led by mum Elaine, decided to help him make it a reality.

The first Night of Abilities took place in 2015 with family friend, TV personality and former Test cricketer Greg Ritchie stepping up as host. Starring Nathan and friends from his day program, the event was a great success and since then the show has gone from strength to strength. Last year it attracted an audience of more than 300 people.

From strength to strength

Now into its fifth year, the family has decided to move Night of Abilities to a bigger venue – Tweed Heads’ Elevation Church – to ensure it can play to an even bigger audience. The show will also feature a broader range of performers with disabilities, drawn from schools across the region.

All funds raised by ticket sales, donations and raffles go towards the Kids In Need Association, which supports young children living with disabilities or with terminal illnesses. Nathan’s carer, Mel, says thousands of dollars have already been raised for the charity over the past four years.

“Nathan, his carers and his family literally go knocking on the doors of businesses right through the area, from the Gold Coast and all the way down to Murwillumbah, asking for donations,” Mel says.

“Some businesses donate money, others donate artworks, dinner vouchers or cakes – one business donated a Harley Davidson ride. The local community has been so generous.”

When the lights go up on 31 August 2019, Nathan and his friends will be ready and waiting to put on the best show yet. While Nathan can’t confirm all the details, he says it will feature plenty of his favourite songs, dancing, even a flash mob.

To find out more, including pictures and videos from previous years’ shows, visit the Night of Abilities Facebook page at facebook.com/pg/NightOfAbilities.

“Today Tweed Heads, tomorrow Hollywood!” 

Nathan Johnston

NDIS Participant

Nathan’s NDIS supports have helped him:

  • Improve his fitness
  • Improve his diet
  • Engage with the community
  • Pursue his creative dreams

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

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui and her father Don (pictured here with LAC Cindy at left) have overcome the sorts of odds that would have defeated most people many times over – and still come up smiling.   The story begins in 1980 when, as a 15 year old, Jacqui was a passenger in a car...

read more

Jordan swaps Struggle Street for a social whirl

When Denise gave birth to her son Jordan, the main concern was that he was three months premature.    “He was born early due to an infection but beyond that he was just a normal, beautiful baby boy,” she says. But shortly after Jordan returned home with his...

read more

Roger steals the show

The first words out of Roger’s mouth each morning when he wakes up are ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’, because he’s hoping it is a day he can go to the Vivability day program that he loves. He can access the program with funding in his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui and her father Don (pictured here with LAC Cindy at left) have overcome the sorts of odds that would have defeated most people many times over – and still come up smiling.

 

The story begins in 1980 when, as a 15 year old, Jacqui was a passenger in a car that collided with a parked truck. Jacqui suffered severe head injuries and after three years in hospital, she emerged with brain damage and the loss of sight in one eye.

“Jacqui had to learn how to speak again and to this day has poor balance, no sense of smell and limited taste,” Don says. “Her right arm is useless and her right leg is very slow.”

Dreams put to one side

Jacqui’s dreams of becoming a hairdresser had to be put aside and instead she found work at a Sydney-based disability enterprise.

Her mother developed Parkinson’s Disease just a few years later and Don took on the role of carer for both of them until his wife’s death 12 years ago. The family moved to the Gold Coast in 1987 and they have lived there ever since.

“Apart from Jacqui’s placement at a local disability enterprise we received no other support to help with her care,” Don says.

“However, one thing the NSW Government did do was let us know that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was coming, so we got an application in early and Jacqui got accepted.”

Jacqui’s pre-planning was done with the assistance of Tweed-based Social Futures Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Cindy, and Jacqui received her First Plan in July 2017.

“Jacqui’s initial plan didn’t have much extra funding for respite care but there was enough in there that at last we could see light at the end of the tunnel,” Don says. “I was 82 at that stage and for the first time I had the sense that there would be ongoing support for Jacqui after I’m gone.”

From bad to worse

In October 2017, Don had a crash and wrote his car off. Then in January 2018 Jacqui had two falls that saw her taken to hospital for a check-up. When Don came to collect her from hospital, she fell again – and this time broke her ankle badly. Since then Jacqui has needed a wheelchair to get around.

The final blow came in June 2018, when a faulty home air conditioner caught fire and the family house burnt down. Jacqui and Don escaped with just the clothes they were wearing and both wound up in hospital.

“The house was insured but we basically lost everything,” Don says. “We’ve been living in temporary accommodation ever since.”

New plan, fresh hope

Luckily Cindy had put in place a review of Jacqui’s plan after her January falls, and the revised plan now provides funding for in-home care seven days a week as well as funding for cleaning and out-of-home activities. Her plan has also funded a new foldable wheelchair, a walking stick and daily adaptive equipment.

“Australian Unity provides the support workers and they’ll be able to keep supporting us when we move back to Sydney to be close to my other daughters, while our house is rebuilt,” Don says.

“Thanks also to the fabulous staff at Social Futures’ Tweed office, who rallied around and bought us a hamper after the fire. It was a wonderful gesture and helped keep our spirits up through a really tough time.”

“Thanks to the fabulous staff at Social Futures’ Tweed office, who rallied around and bought us a hamper after the fire. It was a wonderful gesture and helped keep our spirits up through a really tough time.” (Don)

Don

Jacqui's father

Jacqui’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • With personal care, seven days a week
  • Domestic assistance
  • Gain more independence outside the home
  • Recover from her recent falls

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

Nathan’s night of nights

Nathan Johnston is a born performer and artist. Raised and still living with his family in NSW's Tweed Heads region, he has always loved acting, painting and singing.   Since leaving school 10 years ago he’s taken his talent to the next level, and with the...

read more

Jacqui overcomes the odds

Jacqui and her father Don (pictured here with LAC Cindy at left) have overcome the sorts of odds that would have defeated most people many times over – and still come up smiling.   The story begins in 1980 when, as a 15 year old, Jacqui was a passenger in a car...

read more

Jordan swaps Struggle Street for a social whirl

When Denise gave birth to her son Jordan, the main concern was that he was three months premature.    “He was born early due to an infection but beyond that he was just a normal, beautiful baby boy,” she says. But shortly after Jordan returned home with his...

read more

Roger steals the show

The first words out of Roger’s mouth each morning when he wakes up are ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’, because he’s hoping it is a day he can go to the Vivability day program that he loves. He can access the program with funding in his National Disability Insurance Scheme...

read more

Get new stories from NDIS Participants in your inbox

* indicates required



Opportunity Pathways … a new route to housing independence

Opportunity Pathways … a new route to housing independence

red haired young woman working in fashion shopOpportunity Pathways is a new program that is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage for social housing recipients. It will also reduce their reliance on government-funded social housing or Rent Choice subsidies.

Anita Mansfield from Social Futures, says “This new program is designed to help people realise their career aspirations and transition away from social housing toward housing independence. We will create personalised support plans and pathways to career opportunities, but we can also support participants with Social Futures wrap-around services, so it’s an entirely holistic approach.”

The program will be offered in Lismore and Tweed Heads to people aged 17 or older who are: social housing tenants or members of their household; approved social housing applicants on the waiting list; and people who receive the Rent Choice subsidy. Social Futures anticipates it will support 165 participants over the next three years.

Read the media release

Housing Crisis: NEW STUDY SHOWS ONE MILLION HOMES NEEDED

Housing Crisis: NEW STUDY SHOWS ONE MILLION HOMES NEEDED

image: Northern Star

New national research backs the Northern Rivers community’s call to address the housing crisis in our region, where over 12,000 households are experiencing rental stress and more than 3,000 households are on the social housing waitlist.

The research is contained in a just-released report from the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre and finds more than one million social and affordable homes need to be built across Australia by 2036 just to meet current demand and keep pace with population growth.

Social Futures CEO and President of the NSW Council of Social Service, Tony Davies said the research also revealed the current social and affordable housing shortfall in NSW was 216,400 homes with the shortage particularly acute in the Northern Rivers.

Read the media release

Write to your local candidate and as what they’ll do about housing if elected?

$11.5K Prizes for young songwriters

$11.5K Prizes for young songwriters

Deb Hall with prizes from RODE microphonesEntrants in the Lismore Young Songwriters Competition this year are in the running to win $11,500 of prizes.

Deb Hall from one of the organising partners Social Futures hopes young people will be encouraged to enter and help fire up their musical careers. “Our two top prizes are valued at almost $4,000 each. The winners will have their songs professionally recorded and receive double passes to Splendour in the Grass and Professional Performer Kits from RØDE,” Ms Hall said.

On 12 April, the People’s Choice Award winner will be selected by the audience at the Finals Showcase, to win a hi-fi system valued at $2,000, a mastered track recording and a Studio Recording Kit.”

Five runners-up prizes include professional quality microphones and paid gigs at Crankfest. All finalists will have access to songwriting masterclasses at Southern Cross University during the year.

Entries close at midnight on 25 March 2019. Get all the details about how to enter or like and follow the competition’s Facebook page.

Read the full media release

The Lismore Young Songwriters Competition is organised and supported by Social Futures and its programs headspace Lismore and The Clubhouse, Southern Cross University and the Northern Rivers Conservatorium. We are also grateful for prizes from sponsors Rockinghorse Studios, SAE Creative Media Institute Byron Bay, Splendour in the Grass, RØDE Microphones, The Audio Room, Crankfest, NORPA and Lismore City Council.

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