4 November 2020

While residents and staff in Victoria’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses emerge out of lockdown, people from other states continue to show support and connection that started with posting care packages.

Image: Care package for Supported Independent Living (SIL) residents in Melbourne.

As communities in Victoria enjoy new freedom after spending months under Stage 4 restrictions, the importance of staying connected continues. This was recently highlighted when staff and residents from many of Life Without Barriers’ Supported Independent Living (SIL) homes interstate decided to send special care packages to SIL houses in Melbourne to bring some joy during lockdown.

“The idea came about when our team here in New South Wales was reflecting on how tough it was for our colleagues and clients in Victoria under Stage 4 restrictions, and wondered how we could reach out,” says Kelly Fishburn, Regional Director of Life Without Barriers’ disability services in southern New South Wales. “We wanted to create a connection between our SIL houses in different states so we partnered up as ‘sister houses’, so we could lean on each other and share experiences, hopefully not just through the pandemic, but into the future.”

The idea was so well received by SIL teams, that staff and residents from all across Australia got involved with the care package project, bringing much excitement in creating personalised packages for Victorians.

Each of the care packages sent was incredibly thoughtful, with residents participating in various activities to add their own touch.

Image: Personalised artworks to help boost SIL residents in Melbourne.

Among the many care packages was a special delivery from Sarah Shurmer, who receives support to live independently in Western Australia’s Margaret River region. With the support of Sarah’s staff, she sent a personalised package including a map of her region and local fudge, plus key rings and snow domes as gifts.

Image: Local fudge and key rings care package, sent from Margaret River, WA.

Adding to the diversity, men supported at a SIL house in Port Augusta, South Australia, put their creative talents to the test to produce a series of colourful paintings to brighten up a SIL home in Melbourne, while another SIL house in the Northern Territory sent beauty treatments and face masks, to help make the time spent at home feel a bit more indulgent.

Image: SIL residents in Melbourne enjoying beauty facial masks delivered in their care package.

However, these care packages didn’t just provide Victorian SIL homes a surprise in the post – it created the start of new friendships between SIL houses across the country. “Many houses included writing materials and reply-paid envelopes in their care packages to sister houses could reply and stay in touch as times goes on,” explained Kelly.

Overall, the SIL house care package project proved a great success, and a wonderful example of creativity to help strengthen relationships across Life Without Barriers.

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