Vital link to independence: workers on deck to help indigenous community

INDEPENDENCE: Lynne Warren, Dean Evers, Annette Steele, Sally Wilson and Deb Spicer from the Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council are seeking disability workers to help indigenous people  increase their independence. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

INDEPENDENCE: Lynne Warren, Dean Evers, Annette Steele, Sally Wilson and Deb Spicer from the Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council are seeking disability workers to help indigenous people increase their independence. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

INDIGENOUS members of the community are set to benefit from increased independence with the Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council searching for employees for their Ability Links program. 

The OLALC has received funding to hire four full-time disability workers, or linkers, for the next three years to help indigenous people aged 9-64 to participate in the community, build strength and skills, and achieve their goals.

The program will not provide specialist disability services, but is designed to complement the existing system by connecting people with a disability to resources, opportunities and services so they can make active choices.

Chief executive officer Annette Steele hoped the program would leave the Aboriginal community in a better position.

“It’s not about accessing wheelchairs and that kind of thing, it’s very focused on whatever they want to do,” she said.

“We do some art programs with younger people, but as they get older, they can use that art skill as an employment outcome.

“But independence can be a lot of things - it might be having the ability to get the bus from home to the shops.”

Ms Steele said the service would provide welcome respite for families and carers and with no requirement to prove a disability, Ms Steele said the program could also benefit people dealing with alcoholism or those suffering from social isolation.

Lynne Warren from Wambigi Indigenous Community Links said she believed Aboriginal families were more isolated.

“They are stuck in their homes and don’t go out, and they don’t seek services because they don’t feel comfortable - there’s a trust factor,” she said.

Applications for the four positions are still open.

CareWest will provide the Ability Links program for the non-indigenous community.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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