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.
A day devoted to stamping out the stigma around mental illness could become an annual fixture with locals and visitors alike embracing the spirit of the day when the Nyngan Tigers Senior Rugby League Club hosted its mental health round. The day, which was a collaboration between Nyngan Tigers and Ability Links NSW, aimed to break down barriers associated with mental illness, foster community understanding and empower people to seek help when needed. Former professional rugby league player and Black Dog Institute representative Wayne Wigham addressed each team at the end of their games, highlighting the importance of people seeking help when they don’t feel like themselves.
For a lot of kids, if they had to name their favourite activities, lego would be near the top of the list. A new partnership between Ability Links NSW and Bathurst Library will bring Lego for all as part of a new LEGO club. The club is for people of all different abilities aged between five and 18 years of age and aims to promote inclusiveness and help build friendships.