Media Releases

SSI, Vinnies and UnitingCare to support people with disability

Settlement Services International in partnership with St Vincent de Paul Society NSW and UnitingCare has been awarded the tender to deliver Ability Links across 23 local government areas in inner Sydney, Metro Sydney South West, Sutherland Shire and Southern Highland region. 

Ability Links is contributing to the objectives of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and is a new approach of the NSW Government to foster full and active participation of people with disability in their community.

Sixty-four Ability Links Coordinators, known as Linkers, will be hired to provide information and support to people with disability, their families and carers, and their local communities. Linkers will work in connecting local communities in order to shape a more inclusive society for people with disability and their families.

Settlement Services International CEO, Violet Roumeliotis said the missions of the organisations regarding social inclusion made for a highly compatible partnership focused on benefiting people with disability. Providing quality services and support for vulnerable communities, SSI is a leading not-for-profit organisation providing a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance and foster care in NSW.

“People with disability are the beneficiaries of this combined approach and the new model for full participation offered by Ability Links,” said Ms Roumeliotis.


Matthew Cleary, Executive Officer St Vincent de Paul Society Support Services said the Society was very pleased to be partnering with SSI to deliver Ability Links and to allow people with disability to live their life the way they wish.

“Ability Links is placing people with disability at the centre of decision making about their lives and welcoming communities to encourage inclusion of people with disability, their families and carers,” said Mr Cleary. 

Claerwen Little, Director UnitingCare Children, Young People and Families was pleased the organisation had been chosen as a partner with SSI for the new initiative.

“UnitingCare is proud to partner with SSI and be involved in Ability Links. It’s a ground breaking program promoting community inclusion and participation for people with a disability. It is work we know needs to be done well, and we are committed to that.”

Linkers work with people with disability, their families and carers to help them plan for their future, build on their strengths and skills, and develop networks in their own communities so they can do what they want with their lives - outside of the traditional disability service system.

It provides people with a locally based, first point of contact to support people to access support and services in their local communities.

Linkers also work with local communities to help them become more welcoming and inclusive of people with disability.

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St Vincent de Paul Society Media Contact: Yolanda Saiz 0417 446 430

Settlement Services International Media Contact: Angela Calabrese 0401 284 828 

UnitingCare Media Contact: Nicole Jackson 0412 201 023

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