SSI News Blog

Waking up to the voices of news broadcasts from three different radios, and sometimes also the television, is an almost daily ritual for Felix Bennett.

Some mornings, Mr Bennett hears a sports story that he has submitted and he gets a rush of excitement.

“It makes me happy for the day and makes me feel special,” Mr Bennett said about hearing his story on the radio.

SSI Linker Rene McKenzie-Low, Felix and his mother.
SSI Linker Rene McKenzie-Low, Felix and his mother.

Mr Bennett has cerebral palsy but with the help of the Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) program and his ‘Linker’ Rene McKenzie-Low, he has attained a role as a volunteer sports news researcher for Central Coast radio station Star 104.5.

Settlement Services International (SSI), in partnership with UnitingCare and St Vincent de Paul, delivers ALNSW throughout numerous LGAs across NSW.

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

ALNSW Coordinators, called ‘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 so they can do what they want with their lives — outside of the traditional disability service system.

Filing a thirty second news story can take Mr Bennett the best part of a day.

“If I hear something interesting, I have to find out more details and check if it’s true,” he said. This involves researching websites, books, and the newspaper, which his father, helps him read.

He then dictates the story to his mother who writes it out, so that Felix can then type it and email it to Star 104.5 newsreader Sasha Barbour.

“I have used a few of Felix’s story so far and they have really helped me with the news broadcasts,” Ms Barbour said.

“Felix’s determination has opened doors and Star 104.5 is happy to support that passion.”

With the help of his family and therapists, Mr Bennett has played a range of sports since he was very young.

Using modified equipment when needed, he has played basketball, baseball, golf and rugby to just name a few.

Swimming is his forte though and in August Mr Bennett will fly to England to take part in the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) World Games.

To say Felix is crazy for sport is an understatement according to SSI Linker Ms McKenzie-Low.

“From our very first meeting I could see that sport was the area where I could help him,” Ms McKenzie-Low said.

“One day he’d like to work for Star’s sister stations in Sydney or Melbourne and I’ll be there all the way supporting him wherever I can.”

When asked what his all-time favourite sporting team was, Mr Bennett hesitated, but only momentarily.

“The Swans,” he said with a big smile.

“Some people like movies, I like sport. I think I was born liking sport.”

 

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