By Tang Li
The St Vincent de Paul Society, in partnership with Settlement Services International, will launch Ability Links NSW across Sydney as part of the Government’s new initiative to support disabled people.
Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) claim to be an innovative way to support people with disabilities (aged 9-64), their families and carers as part of the ongoing reforms of the disability services in NSW.
Not only has it streamlined with the National Disability Insurance Scheme trial, it provides people with a locally based first point of contact to support people to access disability services in their local communities.
This is achieved through ALNSW Coordinators or “Linkers” who use their local knowledge and existing networks to support disabled people in building their strengths and skills so they can pursue their interests and goals.
Linkers also work with local communities to help them become more welcoming and inclusive of those with disabilities, as well as breaking down barriers outside of the traditional disability service system.
Linkers have helped people to apply for TAFE and University after the NSW Government lost funding to provide Auslan training courses in 2015 under the new reforms.
The president of People With Disability, Craig Wallace, said the government should be offering education incentives to get people off the Disability Support Pension.
“People with disabilities often needed higher qualifications to find work, because many are unable to perform blue-collar jobs, so we shouldn’t be pricing those with disabilities out of training,” he said.
ALNSW launched in the Hunter Valley in July 2014 and has now expanded so that there are now 268 Linkers, of which 47 are Aboriginal identified positions, for people to connect with.
To celebrate the launch of Ability Links, a free community barbeque will be held on Tuesday 20 January 2015 from 11am-2pm at the Redfern Community Centre.