Our stories

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Alexander the Advocate

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. 

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Creative Space Southern Highlands

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.

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Sprung - Dance workshop a hit

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. 

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Connecting Chelsea

9 Oct 2017

Listen to Chelsea's story.

 

Ability Links Smart Art Includes You Challenge receives support for inclusive message

9 Oct 2017

 

Newcastle SmartArt 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.

Read the full story in the Newcastle Herald.

Hunter Valley Students Get Their Art On

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.

Read the full story in the Newcastle Star.

Ability Links holds 'Smart Art Includes You' art exhibition at PCYC Cessnock

25 Sep 2017

Smart Art CessnockDozens 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.

Read the full article in the Cessnock Advertiser.

Michael's Story

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. 

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Lake Macquarie Includes You

24 Sep 2017

Ability Links Event TentLake Macquarie City Council and Ability Links to bring a safe retreat tent to major event

Read the full article in the Lakes Mail

 

Getting around - Carey’s Story

15 Sep 2017

For regional areas, lack of transport options can be very isolating and for Carey, it meant he was spending most of his time at home. 

When Carey and an Ability Links’ ‘Linker’ first met up to discuss his goals and aspirations, Carey talked about his difficulty in getting around town. 

Carey told his Linker that he either had to walk or catch a taxi, as there was no public transport available and that because of the cost of taxis, he wasn’t able to access his local community as often as he would like, especially if it was raining. 

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