Expo helps develop disability networks
‘‘It’s hard to believe there are so many choices’’
That was a reaction to the Navigating Your Future Disability Expo from a parent whose child requires disability services.
Last Wednesday’s expo in the Centennial Convention Centre brought together 30 disability sector providers offering a range of services from funding and budgeting, to vocational training and employment, recreation, flatting and accommodation.
Organised by Phoenix Supported Employment, the expo was so parents, families, carers and people needing disability support could learn more about available services. The open hours were extended to 6pm, so people could attend after work.
‘‘There are transitions all through life and people need to review their disability support needs,’’ explains Phoenix CEO Janice Gordon. ‘‘And it’s great to know what’s available as those needs change.’’
Supported by the City Council, the third annual expo attracted about 80 per cent of the city’s providers, including those offering generic services such as Civil Defence, City Library, Manawatu Home Budgeting and the Public Trust. People with disabilities need to be aware of the special services these agencies make available for them.
‘‘There were eight new stalls,’’ says expo co-ordinator Cathryn Woller. ‘‘It has expanded each year with different stalls and information each time.’’
Claire Davis with brain injury and stroke rehabilitation organis- ation the Stewart Centre says networking, and making people more aware of what the centre does, was invaluable.
Networking was key for stall holders and visitors alike.
‘‘Having young people we support talking with other young people about what they’ve done since leaving school, develops a peer network,’’ says Carol Sebborn from Options in Community Living.
First time exhibitor Letitia Stick from Mobility Manawatu says it was a good opportunity to meet other people in the sector, so everyone could work in together.
Carol Foster, who has been supported by Community Connections for the last two-and-ahalf years, says it was about making people aware of people like herself.
‘‘People need to review their disability support needs.’’ Janice Gordon
Lenore Beck completes a ‘passion audit’ – a colourful ‘hope for the future’ heart on the Options in Community Living stall during the Navigating Your Future Disability Expo in the Convention Centre.