We partner with people living with disability to help them achieve their goals and live safe, meaningful lives.
This year we brought all our disability programs under one umbrella allowing stronger governance and support functions.
More than 10 programs and services across the state provide disabled people with specialist accommodation, day-to-day support, respite care, life skills and capacity-building, employment, and assistance to build relationships and take part in community life.
This year saw bittersweet endings and exciting new beginnings, with the NSW Government’s closure of the Ability Links program and the subsequent introduction of our new Access and Inclusion service stream.
We run three specialist accommodation services for people with disability: one in Sydney for teenagers and young adults with complex needs; one in Coonamble for adults who wish to live as independently as possible; and one near Nowra for men with complex needs who are at risk of homelessness.
In total, Supported Independent Living Sydney, Greene Villa in Coonamble and Jim Da Silva Farm in the Shoalhaven have provided a safe home and tailored support for 31 people over the 2019/20 financial year.
One of the most significant challenges we faced in 2019/20 was the Black Summer bushfire crisis. Jim Da Silva Farm provides a rare refuge for men who often feel rejected by the broader community; we cater for men with disability who are also experiencing drug and alcohol issues, mental illness, and emotional disturbances. During the long weeks of fires on the South Coast, this service was forced to move several times to protect the safety of our residents and staff. The men were moved to alternative locations including nearby John Purcell House, a homelessness accommodation centre in Nowra, where they could shelter with minimal disruption to their support structures and routines.
Mary MacKillop Outreach and the onsite Men’s Shed in Sydney’s Inner West, plus the Como Social & Leisure Centre provide important day programs where the Society provides safe and supportive places where people with disability can get out of the house, make friends, and take part in fulfilling activities. These programs are designed to encourage social inclusion, personal growth, and life skills development for participants. Together, these services supported 70 people during the 2019/20 financial year.
Our support coordinators help people to understand the funded services in their NDIS plan and link them up with the right community and government organisations to put their plan in action. We provided 19 people with support coordination services this year.
We also provide emergency accommodation, respite, and outreach services for children with disabilities aged seven to 17. These young people receive social, recreational, and skills-building opportunities, while their carers are given time to rest, recharge and pursue their own interests. These services are offered through homelike environments either in our Society respite unit, in the community or in the family home.