LISMORE LOCALS LINKED TO LIFE
Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams, today visited Social Futures Ability Links in Lismore to commend ‘Linkers’ and participants on their effort to ensure Northern Rivers residents are connected to their community.
Ability Links, a $44 million NSW Government initiative, is delivered by staff known as ‘Linkers’, who help people with disability, their carers and family to build on their strengths and skills in order to achieve their goals.
“The program has been an overwhelming success to date, and is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of ‘Linkers’ right across NSW,” Mr Williams said.
At the event, Minister Williams met with local Kyogle resident Pam Bourne, who has benefitted from the program.
Pam felt isolated when she first moved to the area, but with the help of her Linker, Sandy, she has become involved with local organisations including Kyogle Community Gym, Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA), and mental health organisation GROW.
Pam was also instrumental in developing the Arts Recovery Community Hub in Lismore, following the recent floods in Northern NSW. The initiative encourages local people to come together, with any level of artistic skill, and share stories of the floods through art.
“Ability Links has helped me become part of the community in Kyogle and through the activities and opportunities I have had, helped me gain confidence,” said Ms Bourne.
“I now go on monthly fishing trips and am on the NDIS working group. I have also campaigned to have a bus running from Kyogle to Lismore that will give locals access to Lismore based work and study opportunities.”
Minister Williams congratulated Pam on her success, “it’s inspiring to hear of Pam’s achievements since first visiting Social Futures Ability Links, particularly her role in establishing the Arts Recovery Community Hub.”
Member for Lismore Thomas George said Social Futures Ability Links was a great asset to the Northern Rivers region and congratulated all those involved.
“Ability Links is a fantastic program, empowering local people with disability, their families and carers to plan for the future and realise their own aspirations,” said Mr George.
Over 73,000 people with disability, their families and carers have benefited from Ability Links. According to independent reports by Urbis, the program returns three dollars in economic and social benefits for every dollar invested by the government.
To find out more about Ability Links, please visit: www.abilitylinksnsw.org.au.