What is Ability Links NSW?
Ability Links NSW is a way of connecting people with disability, their families and carers in the community.
Linkers work closely with people with disability, their families and carers to support them to fulfil their goals, hopes and dreams. Providers are the organisations that offer services to people with disability and the community. Linkers work for these Providers.
There are a range of Providers around the state, you can use this website to help you find a Provider or Linker in your area.
Who can use Ability Links?
Ability Links NSW is for:
- people with disability aged 0 to 64 years
- carers and families of people with disability.
Individual, clubs, groups and businesses can also access Ability Links NSW for information and support on inclusion of people with disability. There is no formal assessment process or referral that you need to meet in order to use Ability Links NSW.
A successful approach to building inclusive communities revealed
According to Urbis Director of Economic and Social Advisory Alison Wallace, who was responsible for the three-year evaluation of Ability Links, “The program model is a winner... In 25 years of evaluating government initiatives, I have rarely come across a program that has achieved so much in such a short space of time."
The program has been particularly successful in Aboriginal communities – more than a quarter of the people accessing Ability Links are Indigenous – a major achievement.
According to Urbis Chief Economist Nicki Hutley, the findings of the cost-benefit analysis and social return of investment is ground-breaking work.
Click here to learn more about the Urbis reports. Or click on the report images to download them each.
Ability Links NSW – This is what Linkers do
Ability Links NSW now has a video showcasing what Linkers do, and just a few of the awesome outcomes they achieve for people they support in local communities!
13 Dec 2017
Maitland Park Bowling Club
Living in the communities they serve often means that Linkers are ideally-placed to help those communities identify barriers to access and inclusion, and facilitate capacity building in those areas.
In Maitland, for instance, a Linker who was on maternity leave had trouble accessing the local bowling club with a pram.
That is how a conversation started between the Maitland Ability Links team and the Maitland Park Bowling Club and Sporting Complex.
The linker talked to other club users about how they access the club, and whether they, too, experienced access issues.
Some of the older club users, as well as those living with disability, said they did have access concerns and had experienced difficulties accessing the club. A few people said they had stopped attending the club as a result.
Ability Links worked with the club’s president, Phillip Penfold, to coordinate a “conversation day” aimed at club users, and members, to talk about what more they thought could be done to improve accessibility at the club, and what more could be done to include people with disability and others with mobility challenges.
Through many conversations it was decided that the club needed a new entrance, incorporating a ramp and double glass sliding doors.
Armed with that information, Mr Penfold arranged for builders to visit the club and provide a quote on the works identified – their estimate of the costs involved was $50,000.
Another meeting was held to give club users and members a chance to throw around ideas about how to raise some money towards that cost. They volunteered to hold several fundraisers - a Family Fun Day, and a ‘Christmas in July Trivia’ event.
Different user groups of the club volunteered to conduct specific activities or complete certain jobs and roles. At the Family Fun Day, for example, the women involved with women’s bowls ladies volunteered to hold a cake stall; the men’s bowling arm of the club volunteered to run a BBQ.
Ability Links supported the club by receiving donations for the raffle, and donations of meat and bread; and coordinating entertainment (such as a photo booth, music, jumping castles and a face painter).
Ability Links also supplied staff to assist with the running of the day and to help out where needed.
The Family Fun Day was held on the 19th of March 2017 was a great success - the club raised a total of $8000.
Ability Links then, in consultation with Maitland Park Bowling Club, set off to prepare for the Christmas in July Trivia on the 15th of July 2017. Linkers supported the club to source prizes for their auction and assisted the club with setting up and packing up on the night.
Maitland Park Bowling Club have since been in contact with Ability Links to let know that the club still has roughly $10,000 left to raise for the ramp and doors.
Ability Links is continuing to work with the club to reach their goal to become more accessible and inclusive by means of installing a ramp and double glass sliding doors.
30 Nov 2017
Overcoming Setbacks - Another great story about how our Linkers can help people to overcome challenges.
Natasha is a 35-year-old woman who has long struggled with her mental health. Due to her anxiety and depression, she found herself becoming increasingly socially isolated over time.
When she met with a Linker, Natasha identified a number of goals she wanted to explore to help her re-engage with her community, including volunteer work, possibly in an administrative capacity, and doing more exercise.
Natasha took a few weeks to consider details provided of the volunteer program offered by the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre. She was disappointed that the neighbourhood centre already had a full contingent of office volunteers, and so she asked her linker to look into the possibility of volunteering at a local medical centre.
Unfortunately, the linker found that there was no need of a volunteer receptionist or administration assistant at the local medical centre, however, Natasha managed to turn her disappointment around.
She did connect with the Belmont Neighbourhood Centre afterall, and committed to volunteering at their “Habitat in Harmony” community garden. She also came up with her own list of organisations she thought might welcome a volunteer. Together with her Linker, Natasha explored volunteering opportunities at schools and real estate agents.
Natasha also took charge of her exercise goal. When she and the Linker first met, Natasha mentioned that she enjoyed bike riding. One of her goals was to investigate social cycling clubs. While the Linker was researching cycling clubs in Natasha’s local area, Natasha decided to start cycling on her own, which she now does twice a week, with the support of her Mum.
Natasha still struggles with her health but she is volunteering and cycling her way back into her community.