The power of networking: How we build connections for NDIS participants
Feros Care is excited to be forging ahead with another year of our popular Pop In and Pop Out (PIPO) forums.
The forums are designed to create pathways for community and mainstream providers to connect with each other. They also offer our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) all the information they need to pass on to their NDIS participants so they can live their best lives.
The quarterly information-sharing forums allow stakeholders to share and understand how their services can be best accessed while inspiring our LACs to connect their participants to a wide range of mainstream and community services, supports and activities that they might otherwise not have known about.
Feros Care LAC Alicia, who facilitated the most recent two-hour forum, invited a range of stakeholders to take part via an online Microsoft Teams platform to informLACs about the services they provide.
This Pop In forum was focused on GP allied health, mental health and education.
Pop Out forums are also organised so LACs can explain their role to organisations in the community.
Find out more about them, and their benefits, below.
The power of information
“A big part of our role is to connect people with other organisations that might have something of interest for them,” Alicia says.
When LACs are able to hear from a host of services, they are able to garner plenty of new information and ideas which can be passed on to participants.
“This saves time, and it strengthens people’s supports. It might be that they find out about how they can study, what courses TAFE offers, and how to access jobs. They can find out more about what’s available to support participants if they want to work, for example through mainstream employment services.”
One organisation talked about activities which they have received grant funding for, ensuring the activities are free for people to attend. The forum gave the organisation an ideal opportunity to explain what they do and how people can become involved.
Other organisations with projects for multicultural services, community access, and counselling also took part.
Skills, goals and confidence
Alicia says the forums are an effective way of allowing LACs to help participants meet their goals.
“When we suggest ideas to people, it’s often because they may have mentioned that this is one of their goals. If we have the knowledge about what’s on offer, we can help point them in the right direction.”
With the help of their LACs, participants are able to build new skills and nurture new relationships through these activities.
“This could mean someone who may have been previously socially isolated can make a new friend which in turn can make them more confident and happier.”
The forums are beneficial for the stakeholders as it gives them a platform to spread their message and know that it’s being heard by the right people.
“They might have the money for these projects, but they need the people to come,” Alicia says.
“It helps their project be successful and maybe they can get further funding to keep them going. There’s so much out there that it’s even difficult for us to know everything.”
Support and satisfaction
Alicia says the online forums allow an unlimited number of people to attend, interact with each other and ask questions. She adds that it’s crucial participants are given a range of information and choices so they have every opportunity to dream big and reach their goals.
“I really enjoy the fact that I’m able to support someone to make sure that they’re doing day-to-day things everyday that they may not have thought were possible, and that they have the opportunity to expand what they’re doing, explore new things and tap into what they want to do.”
Alicia says that before the NDIS was established, many people weren’t being supported to their full potential.
Now, however, not only is more support available, but the role of educating the wider community to be more inclusive is being addressed.
“We are getting there. We would like to encourage everyone to be able to access everything they want to.
“As time goes on it will get that way eventually. That is really the end game and that is why I enjoy doing what I’m doing because I know it’s part of that bigger picture.”
Participants of the GP Allied Health, Mental Health and Education PIPO included:
- Australian Association of Psychologists Incorporated (AAPI)
- One Culture – NDIS Information Linkages and Capacity Project
- Job Access
- Communities Access and Services South Australia (CAaSSA) – NDIS Information Linkages and Capacity Project
- Multi Cultural Services South Australia (MCSSA) – NDIS Information Linkages and Capacity Project
- National Disability Coordination Office Programme (NDCO)
- TAFE SA – Access and Inclusion Advisor
- Relationship Australia
- DHS: Community Connections