On a sunny Launceston morning we visited the beautiful modern (and neat as a pin) home of two Life Without Barriers clients. We were told that two young men lived there – I couldn’t believe my eyes! Surely they were wrong…
Image: Nick and Alex outside their home with their mentor Jess
Nick and Alex met at The Hub (a social meeting space for young men with a disability) and soon realised they had similar interests. They developed a fast friendship, and this resulted in them exploring accommodation options and eventually moving into together. Prior to the big move, Nick was living with his parents and Alex was in a group house with another service.
One of Nick and Alex’s Life Without Barriers mentors, Jess, says “This opportunity for the guys originated from a blossoming friendship and strong connection. It works because their personalities really complement one another.”
With the support of their families and Life Without Barriers mentors, the transition into independent living has been a great success and relatively smooth sailing. When you met these two lovely guys you can see why.
Alex and Nick have a roster of domestic tasks, cooking duties, and fun activities all planned out and stuck on the fridge. They also have a lot of their own time to go to work and pursue their individual interests.
Nick, the quiet achiever, is a keen sportsman and has won numerous trophies for basketball, soccer and tennis. He didn’t miss a single hoop in the backyard while I was watching. Nick also works a few days a week in a local bakery as a kitchen hand and loves it.
Alex is the more outgoing and cheeky! He has a keen interest in all things music and movies, and when in conversation can be quite the poet. He also possesses impressive chef skills – as demonstrated during our visit. Alex also works a couple of days a week at Bluegum, which he really enjoys as he loves being outdoors.
When you ask Nick about living with Alex he says, “
"We get along really well and we have bonded. I have really liked getting to know more about him.”
Nick also loves food and says he enjoys “penne sausage pasta and shepherd’s pie” the most. He says that he and Alex also love watching movies and enjoying adventures outdoors as housemates.
When you ask Alex about living with Nick he says, “Nick is really sporty and I love how he brings so much energy to life. He encourages me. He is an inspiration to me and everyone around him. We are the perfect match as housemates.”
In their spare time Alex says, “We love going out with Jess and other mentors and doing social activities.”
When you ask them both about their Life Without Barriers mentor Jess they say, “She is fun, has heaps of energy, helps us with some chores, listens to us, and is… LOUD!”
When Jess talks about Nick and Alex she beams, “They are two very strong characters who love to have fun, but they are also striving for goals. They are now living independently and are ambitious young men – which is my favourite part of working with them. Both the guys are very different which brings great balance and harmony to the house.”
This is a living example of the NDIS, and associated support agencies like Life Without Barriers, giving independence and choice to young people living with a disability. Moving into the future, I asked Nick and Alex what they hoped for. Nick said, “I hope to still be living here in 12 months’ time, get more independent, and improve my cooking skills.”
Alex said, “I would like to continue to live independently and reduce the need for mentors and support. Life Without Barriers and our parents have been so supportive and great, but the aim is to definitely live completely independently.” Jess finishes by saying, “The guys both have really exciting and bright futures. They already have better social lives that me, they’re flourishing, and doing an amazing job. At the moment their future is anything they want it to be.”
I think that says it all.
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