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It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of 2018, Belinda and Shradha had not yet met. For two people who live kilometres apart in the city of Melbourne to be able to make a strong, long-lasting friendship built on support and mutual interests, it often takes a coincidence. But for Belinda and Shradha, it was made possible via Mable.
Finding the right fit
In 2012, literature and film student Belinda experienced a turning point in her life after she experienced a significant brain injury during surgery.
Soon after her injury, it became apparent to Belinda’s family that she would require support and rehabilitation to help her regain independence and get back to doing what she loves.
“After I was discharged from rehab, I started receiving young Home and Community Care through a Linkages package, but the bookings were inflexible and didn’t allow for change, choice or even emergency care. That was before I transitioned to the NDIS.”
Through Home and Community Care (HACC), Belinda’s support was limited to just two 4 hour shifts a week.
It wasn’t until August 2018 that Belinda’s mum Cathy discovered Mable through an online Melbourne disability group. Since then, Cathy has been using Mable to help manage Belinda’s support and engage with independent support workers like Shradha.
“I have flexibility now because I can use my NDIS funding to pay for support and advertise for jobs because I can’t be left alone. If Mum has an appointment, I often need a support worker to look after me so she doesn’t have to drag me out,” said Belinda of using Mable with her NDIS plan.
After signing up to Mable, every aspect of Belinda’s support has been organised to ensure she has choice and can be independent. “I’m using my NDIS funds to find compatible and suitable independent workers on Mable and I’m able to do this as I have an independent plan manager. My Mum, who is also my nominee, approves the independent workers’ invoices which are then processed by my plan manager for payment.”
“Mable has been a godsend for my Mum and I to find support. The ability to filter independent support workers through different parameters and create shortlists is brilliant.”
More than just support
One of Belinda’s key independent support workers is 24-year-old Shradha, a qualified speech pathologist and student in Melbourne.
“Shradha spends a lot of time chatting with me, which not all carers do,” says Belinda. “I was non-verbal for over two years after my brain injury and I had a lot of issues with short-term memory and speech which have greatly improved since spending time with Shradha.”
Shradha became an independent support worker on Mable in September 2017 when she discovered the platform at university.
“I enjoyed my role as a speech pathologist, but I wanted to build deeper relationships with my clients. My university career guidance linked me to Mable and I haven’t looked back.”
Despite being a qualified and experienced speech pathologist, Shradha was turned away from various organisations because she didn’t have prior experience as a support worker. “Mable gave me that head start that I needed. Since then, I’ve had opportunities to join organisations, but I still chose to be independent with Mable.”
By having direct connections to people seeking aged care and disability support in her local area, Shradha is able to work multiple days a week and provide unique types of support to a range of people in her community. At the same time, she’s able to continue her Masters in Social Work.
“As a university student, it can be hard to commit to jobs that require you to work fixed days and times. Mable provides me with the option to choose when I want to work.”
Whenever she supports Belinda, Shradha is able to apply her skills in speech pathology and build up a repertoire of experience in supporting others. More importantly, the two are able to do things they both love: watching movies, shopping and having a chat over coffee.
“Belinda and I wouldn’t have connected without Mable. We both share similar interests and we often find ourselves chatting for hours, so it no longer feels like a job to assist and support her.”