With the first stages of the NDIS commencing in the Hunter Region during 2013-14, the Hunter DSO recognises the importance of people with disability and their families having voice, choice and control.
The Hunter DSO is a user-led organisation, run by and for people with disability and their families. It is a collective voice of people with disability, independent of government and service provision and committed to ensuring people with disability are included in the community as full and active citizens.
Overseas, particularly in the UK, user-led organisations have shown to be most successful in assisting people with disability to make the most of their individualised funding and self-directing their support. A support organisation led by its users understands the complexity of building a life which is included in the community, and the importance of building the knowledge, skills and confidence in people to lead the lives they want.
Hunter DSO working group member Heidi Forrest thinks it is important to have a collective voice.
“It means I can be a part of a group that can advocate with, and on behalf of, other people who are more vulnerable and may not have a loud enough voice yet,” Heidi says. “It not only provides us with a great opportunity to address common concerns and issues, but is a great way to empower people so that together our voice can become louder.”
The development of the Hunter DSO has been supported through funding from the Federal Government’s Practical Design Fund and they are hosted by the Physical Disability Council of NSW, In Control Australia and Resourcing Families.
The Hunter DSO will be holding workshops in early April in the lead up to the NDIS. Workshops will be of interest to people with disability, their families and friends and will be held in Newcastle, Charlestown and Maitland.
Hunter DSO is keen to hear from people with disability, family, friends, allies and community organisations. For more information about the workshops or getting involved with the Hunter DSO, check out their website or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.