21 Nov 2017
To mark Social Inclusion Week, Ability Links has designed coffee cups featuring quotes from people with disability which will be seen at cafes across NSW during the week. The quotes highlight how people would like to be included.
Over 100 cafes across NSW are taking part. Click here for a full list.
Share your stories of inclusion, or upload a picture of your bright coffee cup, to social media with #inclusivecoffee.
To read more, including the quotes used on the coffee cups please click here.
9 Nov 2017
When Jacinta came to Ability Links she had lost her confidence. She was being bullied at work because of her disability.
Jacinta and her Linker discussed options for looking for a new job and a workplace that better appreciated her skills. While Jacinta was still very reluctant at first, her Linker reassured her that not all workplaces are the same.
Jacinta and her Linker first set about updating her resume and talked to Sureway, a local employment and training agency, about funding a traineeship. Surway spoke with Jacinta and told her she was eligible for both and that there was a job at a local caravan park for a trainee cleaner.
Jacinta was worried about applying as she had never had cleaning experience, however, her Linker reassured her that it was a traineeship and they expected they would have to train someone.
18 Oct 2017
Alexander’s long term goal is to help others; however, first, as he says, he needs to help himself. One of Alexander’s primary motivations is telling stories; and he does so with aplomb.
When St Vincent de Paul Society NSW’s Ability Links City team made a callout for participants for an RU OK Day Event, Alexander was asked if he’d like to be interviewed on stage about his life experiences with mental illness. He jumped at the chance.
Alexander was nervous the entire day before the event, but he described the nervous energy as electric rather than terrifying. After, Alexander gushed about how it made him feel like he was truly contributing to helping others in some small capacity, and he found the experience therapeutic for himself as well.
Since working with Ability Links, Alexander has started sharing his beach photography, and, through his new love of baking, has revitalized his friendship with his neighbour by sharing his freshly baked cupcakes.
These changes may seem incremental on the surface; however, coupled with his newfound desire to be a mental health advocate and share his story far and wide they’ve had a profound impact on Alexander’s sense of community, and his sense of self.
18 Oct 2017
St Vincent de Paul Society NSW’s Ability Links has successfully launched ‘Creative Space’, an exciting new art program in the Southern Highlands. It’s a space where people can learn new skills and art forms, access TAFENSW training, and build friendships in an informal studio space that is inclusive and accessible. Launched last month, the program has already attracted a range of people who are producing fabulous art and ‘want to be known as Creative Makers’.
A fantastic new partnership with TAFENSW has been established and there is a lot of excitement around the free ‘Pathways to Education through the Arts’ course which will start in October, run by a Koori TAFE teacher. We are also excited to be able to offer free accredited TAFENSW Creative Enterprise and Community Arts Cultural development courses which are open to the whole community from February 2018, all establishing the Creative Space as a new arts education hub in the South Western region.
12 Oct 2017
A local inclusive Dance company Sprung!! Integrated Dance Theatre contacted Ability Links for assistance after the director had seen an article in Frankie Magazine about a Deaf professional dancer Anna Seymour based in Melbourne.
The dance company wanted to try and get her up to the Northern Rivers to share her expertise and facilitate a workshop over 5 days with choreographer Michael Hennessy, along with both dancers from the company, and interested community members.
The company had secured a grant enabling them to engage a professional, however, the grant did not cover the costs of providing interpreters for the duration of the workshop. Ability Links met with representatives from the dance company, as well as the Deaf professional.
9 Oct 2017
Listen to Chelsea's story.
9 Oct 2017
What does inclusion mean to you?
That was the question posed to more than 1000 students across the Hunter and Central Coast in an art competition designed to spark a conversation about the nine-letter word.
Organised by disability support group Ability Links, the challenge triggered a wave of interest that saw rap songs, videos, paintings, drawings and sculptures entered for the inaugural exhibit.
The winning Newcastle schools were the Hunter School of Performing Arts and Cooks Hill Campus.
2 Oct 2017
Newcastle and Hunter Valley students 'Get Their Art On' for inclusive Smart Art Challenge
From Gosford to Dungog, and everywhere in between, students have taken part in the inaugural ‘Smart Art Includes You’ Challenge to create rap songs, videos, paintings, drawings and sculptures.
25 Sep 2017
Dozens of local school children have put paintbrush to paper to create art with a meaningful message for Ability Links’ inaugural 'Smart Art Includes You' challenge.
24 Sep 2017
Meet Michael: St George Dragons supporter, animal lover and gardener.
Michael loves helping people and wanted some support from Ability Links to find an opportunity where he could serve his community. We made enquiries around the community and found a place close to where Michael lives where he could assist cooking and serving food for his community.
Michael is now thriving in an environment where he is appreciated for his skills and where he feels valued. He gives meaningful service to a community that really needs it. I asked Michael what he likes about volunteering at Salvos and he said “I just love helping people”. I think that sums up Michael and why he makes such a great volunteer.