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

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

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....

read more

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

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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

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

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....

read more

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

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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

There’s no place like home

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 de-myelination of the optic nerve. This leads to progressive weakening of the legs and hands, and vision impairment.

“It came on about 10 years ago when I was in my mid-30s,” Tammy says. “I thought it was just a pinched nerve, until one day I collapsed on my front steps and wound up in hospital.

“I was fortunate enough to be seen by a neurologist who had experience of the condition – too often it gets misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.”

After that Tammy’s condition continued to worsen to the point that she had to stop teaching music and also cease working as an office manager for a friend’s business. With no family support and no means of supporting herself, five years ago Tammy reluctantly signed up for the Disability Support Pension.

“Luckily I have a lot of support from my Uniting Church congregation which helped me through the worst times,” she says.

Choice of supports

A couple of years ago Tammy heard about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and decided to apply, and was accepted straight away. Her First Plan was agency-managed but, with increasing self confidence, Tammy has now appointed a Plan Manager for her Second Plan which widens her choice of supports.

“My Local Area Coordinator, Belinda Separovic (from NDIS Partner Social Futures), has been great with referrals and emotional support,” Tammy says. “There have been rough patches where I’ve had to contact her a lot, and she always tries to find the answer for me.

“With my First Plan I was able to access occupational therapy and physiotherapy. The OT helped me get my first-ever electric wheelchair, which I really needed, and the physio designed a proper exercise regime for me. They’re heaps better than the online exercises I’d been trying to follow!

“My Second Plan now includes 20 hours of funded support every week and I’ve been able to employ four support workers with the help of my Plan Manager. They provide personal care, clean my house, maintain my garden and will soon be able to take me out for community activities.”

Back in the groove

Tammy can still drive but recently purchased a wheelchair-accessible van, which means her support workers can take her out to do the shopping or go on social outings.

“My vision is good enough to drive but mostly I just don’t have the confidence anymore,” she says.

Now that she has enough support to stay in her home, she’s hoping to get back to work.

“I teach piano, guitar and drums, but realistically I don’t have the energy to get back to what I used to do. However, now that I have support it would be nice to teach at least a few clients.

“With help from my physio, I’m also hoping to regain at least some mobility. But mostly, I’m just very happy feeling safe and secure in my own home.”

 

“Mostly, I’m just very happy feeling safe and secure in my own home.” (Tammy)

Tammy’s NDIS supports have helped her:

  • Buy her first electric wheelchair
  • Develop a personal exercise program
  • Stay in her own home

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

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

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....

read more

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

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* indicates required



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.

DOWNLOAD THE POSTER

 

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

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