21 May 2019

Self-advocacy groups provide support, choice and control for NDIS participants in Victoria.

Image: NDIS participants at our first self-advocacy meeting.

In March and April we welcomed 679 new participants to Life Without Barriers as part of the Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) transfer of services to Life Without Barriers.

The transfer has meant that we are the new service provider of Supported Independent Living (group accommodation) and Short Term Accommodation Assistance (respite support) in selected locations across Melbourne, with a focus on individualised support.

In keeping with the purpose of the NDIS to give people with disability more choice and control in the services they receive, we have been working with transferred participants and the Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALID) to form self-advocacy groups, empowering individuals to have a say in how their support is provided.

The first group meeting kicked off at our Epping office earlier this month, and it involved a number of participants from North Eastern Melbourne who had transferred to Life Without Barriers.

There was overwhelming positive feedback from all of those in attendance.

“They [staff] really listened to me and we have lots to talk about. I think we need to work on staff having too much paperwork to do." --Dennis Thorpe, Life Without Barriers client

Similarly, participant Cameron Noble asked, “When can I come again? I really enjoyed tonight.” Coordinating the meetings is Life Without Barriers Program Lead for Participants, Families and Stakeholder Engagement, Justine Morris, who said the optimism from participants reflects a smooth transfer of services, and a promising outlook for their future support.

“There is a real sense of anticipation among participants as we partner with individuals, encouraging them to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns as people living with disability, now supported by Life Without Barriers.”

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