Communities in Wollongong and Parramatta enjoyed free events to celebrate the "official" arrival of the Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) program and to meet their local ‘Linkers’.
Both events incorporated great local musicians, inspiring speeches, and fun with selfies, chalk boards, hand print signs and henna.
ALNSW supports people with a disability, their families and carers to live the life they want, as valued members of their community.
SSI General Manager, Peter Zographakis spoke at the events and talked about his cousin who suffered a spinal injury in a car accident.
“My cousin’s husband became her Linker, keeping her connected to education, the community and diverse activities that keep her life active and fulfilling,” Mr Zographakis said.
“However, not every person with a disability has a close family member who can fill in the support gap, which is why the work of Linker is so vital and welcomed by many in the community.”
Linkers have strong local knowledge and work alongside communities, supporting them to be welcoming and inclusive.
In partnership with UnitingCare and St Vincent de Paul, SSI delivers the program throughout 60 LGAs in NSW, drawing on its experience and skill of working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
The ability to meet the diverse cultural and linguistic needs of people with disability in NSW is a cornerstone of the ALNSW person-centred service delivery and support environment.
Due to a variety of barriers including language, and awareness of entitlements, people with disability from CALD backgrounds have not been accessing traditional disability services to the extent that they are needed.
SSI Linkers — many of whom are bilingual and bicultural — are proud to be able to contribute their skills to the program and use their cultural sensitivity and competency to help achieve the goals of the program.