PEOPLE living with disabilities will have another support network within the region as Skill Limestone Coast kicks off with activities.
The group – which is an extension of Adelaide’s not-for-profit organisation Purple Orange – aims to provide leadership development opportunities and build local peer networks for people living with disabilities alongside their friends and family through ongoing workshop sessions.
Newly appointed honorary secretary, Kate McDonough said throughout the workshops and meetings she had connected with others within the district living with disabilities of all ranges – including herself.
“I have an acquired brain injury and a lot of physical injuries but with the acquired brain injury I find it difficult with bright lights and lots of noises which makes going out in public difficult,” Ms McDonough said.
“Although what I have been through is tiny compared to others, the group has increased my confidence in dealing with these boundaries.”
She said the group would continue focusing on strengthening the knowledge, ideas and leadership skills of those with disabilities alongside further linking them within the broader community while also instilling confidence.
“One of the group’s initiatives has been having an acting chair every month and we have found that through this there have been those who would not typically put their hands up for the role are beginning to do so,” Ms McDonough said.
“All members assist each other and people are starting to take on roles within the group and asking questions, telling us what they want, what they are having problems with and at the end of the sessions we see a number of bright, happy faces returning.”
Alongside instilling confidence within themselves, Ms McDonough said the group also promotes and encourages confidence and knowledge into personal support networks.
“We also help them find somewhere within the community which is accessible to them such as cafes or restaurants but is also comfortable for their needs,” she said.
“We are really hoping this group will bring confidence to those living with a disability and that they will now be able to go out there and do something, ask things and really contribute.
“We also want the community to realise that not all disabilities are visible and encourage people not to judge a book by its cover.”
Chief executive officer of Purple Orange Andrew Gibson said the workshops also followed peer groups across the region which provides opportunities and support for those living with a disability.
Mr Gibson said the programs also provide support and the confidence needed to further education or gain employment.
“We assist in building their skills to live their lives in the way they choose to,” Mr Gibson said.
“It is also an advocacy for local disability rights and how it affects them while making people very less isolated and more connected and helps with anxieties and other issues and being connected to one another also allows them to share things.”