Expo helps de­velop dis­abil­ity net­works

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

‘‘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

Phoenix CEO

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIRFAX NZ

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.

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