28/5/2019: Two years ago this month, Cody Jones stood at the dispatch box at Old Parliament House during the National Indigenous Youth Parliament and delivered a three-minute speech on something he knows all too well – disability discrimination in the employment market. He now works as an Ability Linker in Dubbo to help other people with disabilities gain access to their local communities and carve out a place for themselves.
The Ability Links Mid North Coast team had the honour of working alongside Aunty Bea Ballangarry as the visionary and cultural director for the ‘WOW 2019’ one-day women's event: ‘Guunumba – Bring to Life’, which took place on 9 March at Coffs Harbour Showgrounds. The team was part of the Women of the World (WOW) working group led by Aunty Bea, with the purpose of the day being to provide a safe, inclusive space for women to connect, heal, learn, grow and have fun.
The Access at a Glance project arrived with a bang across the Central West in February 2019, with Ability Linkers fanning out across the main regional centres to explain the benefits to local businesses of being more inclusive. Pictured above at the Orange launch are (left to right) Zoe Hida (Everywherevenues), Shawn Dwyer (Orange Business Chamber), Margi Garretty (Ability Links), Phil Donato (NSW Local Member), Louise Geaghan (Orange City Council), Noelle (Orange Business Chamber), Sally Thomas (HIPPY Australia), Emily Mitchell (Social Futures) and Bonny Stephens (LiveBetter). At front are Zoe’s daughters.
What began as a conversation in Broken Hill two years ago has ended with more than 100 wheelchair-friendly ramps installed in locations across Far Western NSW – and much of the credit goes to Ability Linker Natasha Bearman, who works with LiveBetter. Natasha is shown here (at left) at the February 2018 project launch with Disability Advocacy NSW's Ross Casey, RDA Far West CEO Michael Williams, Aboriginal Ability Links Linker Nathan Kickett and RDA's Leesa Zupanovich.
3/10/2018: Regional Community Engagement Linker Kylie Maunder has seen more of NSW's Northern Rivers region over the past year than most people see in a lifetime. Operating from her base in Lismore, Kylie visits Aboriginal and other isolated communities from Grafton to Tweed and out to Tabulam on a regular basis, supporting a range of participants and programs as well as participating in key Social Futures activities and groups. "This is literally the best job I've ever had," Kylie says.
20/8/2018: A big ‘thank you’ to the Ability Linkers at LiveBetter in Orange, who last week donned their flannelette shirts, rolled up their sleeves – and raised almost $900 for NSW farmers to buy feed for their livestock. The ‘Feed for Farmers’ flannelette shirt fundraising took place on Thursday 16 August 2018 in the courtyard of the LiveBetter Child and Family Services office, with more than 100 people taking part in a fun-filled day featuring lots of delicious food.
7/8/2018: Tamworth Ability Linker Bec Browning has been recognised for her outstanding community work with a nomination for the regional NAIDOC Inspirational Woman of the Year award. Bec admits to being “blown away” by her nomination and feels deeply honoured.
The North West Alliance has received a Premier’s Award for improving government services with a special presentation made by NSW Minister for Disability Services, The Hon. Ray Williams. The North West Alliance delivers the Ability Links program across 87% of regional NSW. North West Alliance Program Manager Valerie Thompson was on hand to receive the award and said it was recognition of all the wonderful work the Linkers do in our communities.