This weekend marked the start of NAIDOC week, with the theme; Voice, Treaty, Truth. Let’s work together. Here at Mable, we believe that community-based solutions are essential to meeting the support needs of our diverse society, including our indigenous communities. We spoke to independent support worker Diane about how the Mable model is working for her and her clients in her hometown, Cootamundra.
Recognised each year in July, NAIDOC week is an opportunity for us to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on where progress can still be made, with the 2019 theme of NAIDOC Week acknowledging “that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always wanted an enhanced role in decision-making in Australia’s democracy.”
When it comes to disability support and the NDIS, we still face issues meeting the needs of our diverse population, including indigenous citizens.
As reported in The Conversation, studies conducted by Scott Avery, Research and Policy Director at the First Peoples Disability Network (Australia) have found barriers to participation in indigenous communities. He cites an example of people in one Aboriginal community reporting that while the NDIS was providing support packages, these were not translating into expenditure due to a lack of available services.
Similarly, when it comes to supporting our ageing indigenous communities, as revealed by The Guardian, cultural insensitivity and insufficient resources continue to create barriers to aged care and respite for family carers.
Culturally diverse support relies on community-based solutions
Mable has a strong commitment to providing a solution that meets the needs of clients from diverse backgrounds and one that recognises the need for culturally appropriate support for all communities.
Born and bred in Cootamundra, independent support worker Diane understands the importance of community-based solutions. Diane has been offering her services independently via Mable for about a year and a half, after a friend who was working via the platform introduced her to the concept. Diane is proud of her own Ngunawal heritage and includes mention of it on her profile on the platform, as she understands the importance of that cultural connection for indigenous clients who might be looking for services.
Previously employed in the industry, Diane was frustrated with being unable to provide flexible services to her clients – a flexibility that’s a hallmark of both the NDIS and Consumer Directed Care. Although Cootamundra itself is relatively well connected compared to many parts of Australia, Diane noticed how many clients were restricted by the lack of choice provided. When she chose to leave her job to start offering support independently and on her own terms, some clients decided to follow her.
“We are loving the flexibility of Mable, our clients are loving the flexibility. I have a client who might wake up on a Saturday morning and want to do something. I now have the flexibility to be able to support them to do that.”
Diane works with clients with disability, as well as those who are ageing, helping one client with dementia to get out of her house and participate in community life. Another client, an 18 year old girl, she picks up from school and takes home to her farm so she can interact with the animals there – an activity her client loves. Despite these opportunities, more of the type of independent support Diane is offering is needed in her town.
“In the last few weeks I have had to turn work away.”
Diane is a believer in supporting her local community, taking time to volunteer in the local soup kitchen. She’s found that being so connected to her local community has made it easier to find information about her own Aboriginal heritage, something she is still discovering today.
Take part in NAIDOC Week celebrations
From art displays to cultural history tours, talks, to traditional food and craft classes, there’s so much happening around the country to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
If you would like to find out what’s going on in your neck of the woods, you can search for events by entering your postcode on the official website.
Mable is an easy and safe online platform where people who are ageing, or those with a disability, can connect with independent support workers in their local area suit their needs best. Search to see who’s offering support in your area today.