Wanting to reconnect socially, an NDIS participant has captured the moment after a connection with a Feros Care LAC leads to photography opportunity.

Behind the lens is where participant Brooke Collicoat loves to be and when the chance to use her skills to reconnect socially arose, she planned on capturing the moment.

Brooke will attend the upcoming Rural Women Unite and Horse of the North events in Charters Towers in March and May respectively, volunteering her time as a photographer.

Sparked by a connection with Feros Care Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Jaime Best, Brooke, whose life changed forever following an acquired brain injury from a motorbike accident in 2011, said she was excited about getting back behind the camera.

 “I chatted about Horse of the North with Jaime and told her I’d love to help and cover it; it’s very exciting,” she said.

“I grew up with horses and used to train gallopers, so I can’t wait to be involved and get around them and the country people as that is where I’ve been happiest.”

Brooke’s accomplishments in photography speak for themselves

Brooke’s love for photography began as a small child, waiting patiently in front of a bird aviary to capture a perfect shot.

From that moment on, Brooke learned to use a dark room at 13, going on to become a photographer at the local paper in her hometown of Maryborough in Victoria, and an expert in capturing stills.

Brooke’s images create a lasting reminder, with her walls adorned with the various shots of waterfalls, trees, landscapes and nature she’s collected over the years, which she hopes to add to through action photography in a return to volunteering.

“I had been a volunteer my entire life in everything from the fire brigade for 13 years, to the Country Women’s Association, and anything that got me involved in the community,” Brooke said.

“It will just be nice to get back out and be around people again. I want to be out and about. Before the accident I used to work and always be doing things, so it will be nice to get back to that.”

Fittingly it was Brooke’s bond with Jaime which led to the opportunity to link with Rural Women Unite and Horse of the North.

Like Brooke, Jamie also experienced a life-changing accident in 2011, when she was thrown from her car after hitting a kangaroo, which she said helped create the bond between the two.

“When I went to see her to do our first plan meeting, we were having a general discussion and she broke down because she couldn’t do the things she used to do,” Jaime said.

“She was down and didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, so we chatted and she realised I’d been through a similar thing with my accident, and it broke down some of the barriers.”

Woman sitting with dog in lap next to camera
Brooke Collicoat and Indy-Rose

The NDIS is positively impacting the lives of participants

For the big picture, Brooke’s push to build her capacity socially is akin to the strides she’s made around the home with the assistance of Feros Care in her National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning.

Through NDIS funding, Brooke has added assistive technology in the form of a power bed, has acquired her beloved assistance dog Indy-Rose, has had her bathroom and toilet updated, and is back to her best in the kitchen.

While the long-term scope is to acquire funding to have a ramp added to the front of Brooke’s home to help with access as she sometimes uses a wheelchair, reconnecting socially is a key focus.

The important role ILC projects are playing

Jaime, who through her Information, Linkages and Capacity (ILC) project to support and create opportunities for participants through assisting with event planning, assisting with catering and volunteering in the equine industry, saw Horse of the North as perfect for Brooke’s involvement.

 “We’re working on the social side, so it’ll be good for her to go out to the Rural Women Unite luncheon where she’ll be comfortable behind the camera,” Jaime said.

“That will be a great step leading into Horse of the North, and it will be such a huge and positive experience for her.”

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