Hon­our caps off a top year for Lifes­tart char­ity

Or­gan­i­sa­tion a fi­nal­ist in Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Awards

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Marissa Ge­or­gopou­los

THE drive, ded­i­ca­tion and hard work of Lifes­tart is be­ing ac­knowl­edged, with the St Marys char­ity named a fi­nal­ist in the 2016 Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Awards.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was short-listed for the Em­ployer of the Year cat­e­gory, which high­lights those who pro­vide em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for Aus­tralian peo­ple liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity.

Lifes­tart’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Suzanne Becker said in a state­ment: “It is a great hon­our to have our work recog­nised in this way.

“We want to pro­mote an un­der­stand­ing of chil­dren and young peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­ity or de­lay and en­cour­age sup­port for their dig­nity, rights and well­be­ing.”

The St Marys of­fice is one of the reg­is­tered char­ity’s nine cen­tres across Syd­ney and ser­vices the wider Ne­pean and Blue Moun­tains re­gion. It also cov­ers the Hawkesbury area, mean­ing more in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies af­fected by dis­abil­ity can be sup­ported through its var­i­ous ser­vices.

Lifes­tart St Marys (Ne­pean) was one of the Natopma; Dis­abil­ity In­sur­ance Scheme (NDIS) roll­out sites fol­low­ing the last State Gov­ern­ment elec­tion.

It has also been tri­alling the early in­ter­ven­tion early child­hood ap­proach, sup­port­ing chil­dren who might be de­vel­op­men­tally strug­gling.

The cen­tre runs play groups where chil­dren and young peo­ple can meet other fam­i­lies, but it mostly works in the en­vi­ron­ment fam­i­lies are in. The thrill of be­ing named fi­nal­ists has co­in­cided with more ex­cite­ment for the or­gan­i­sa­tion, with Lifes­tart cel­e­brat­ing its 20th an­niver­sary this year.

Since open­ing its doors in 1996 with just eight fam­i­lies, the char­ity’s out­reach has grown im­mensely.

Lifes­tart now sup­ports more than 2500 fam­i­lies.

Win­ners of the Na­tional Dis­abil­ity Awards will be an­nounced on Novem­ber 7.

The awards are part of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s cel­e­bra­tion of In­ter­na­tional Day of Peo­ple with Dis­abil­ity on De­cem­ber 3.

Lifes­tart’s Suzanne Becker.

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