Did you know that around 1 in 6 Australians are living with a disability?

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that equates to approximately 20% of the Australian population. Despite these numbers, people with a disability continue to face barriers within the community, the workplace and across mainstream services. That is why in 1992 countries from around the world united to create International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) to promote inclusion and to celebrate the many amazing contributions of people with disability. By coming together on the 3rd of December each year, we aim to collectively work on transformative solutions to enhance accessibility, advancing the rights of people with disability.

This year’s theme ‘Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation in Fuelling an Accessible and Equitable World’, brings into focus the rapidly evolving technological landscape, and how this can bridge the equality gap through inclusive developments that increase accessibility.

Across our organisation we reflect on the many exciting opportunities ahead as we continue to work on new and innovative programs, technologies, and facilities to support our customers to achieve their goals. We also take the time to celebrate our customers’ many achievements and contributions and invite you to check out a few of our incredible customer stories and latest projects.

A bit about Taine

Many may know Taine from his claim to fame in 2021, where he was made the face of the Bunnings Gardening and Outdoor department in North Queensland due to his hard work and determination. However, at breakthru, we know Taine for his caring personality and amazing attitude, as he constantly brightens everyone’s day with his great sense of humour and positive outlook.

When he was born, Taine was diagnosed with down syndrome, a genetic disorder causing developmental challenges. Growing up this meant Taine had difficulty with his learning and speech, and in turn, sometimes lacked confidence when speaking with strangers.

Following his graduation, when it came time to start his next chapter, he joined breakthru’s School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) program. Together, he and his support worker, began to work on improving his social skills and employability. This saw Taine undertake work experience, before later being offered a role with Bunnings after a six-week job trial.

Now, over a year into his role with Bunnings, Taine has continued to flourish, taking on new responsibilities across the business. This year has seen him move from the gardening section to front services, where he assists with customer services and organising inventory. His hard work has paid off as he continues to thrive in his role, recently being presented with an award and small bonus for the great work he has been doing. We can’t wait to see where this next year takes him!

 

At home with Andrew

Living with spina bifida, Andrew moved into a Royal Rehab assisted living home at the age of 18.

Andrew loves people and learning. He is a member of his home’s management committee and the Royal Rehab choir and is also a Royal Rehab volunteer. In fact, Andrew boasts that he is one of Royal Rehab’s longest serving volunteers.

He is known for his generosity and kindness and is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He dedicates his time helping with everything, from parties and movie nights, to providing practical assistance to other residents.

His generosity extends beyond his home where he assists with marketing activities, including mailouts and collating materials.

Now in his 50s, Andrew has called the Royal Rehab supported group accommodation in Abbotsford home for over a decade. Here he receives support from Royal Rehab’s friendly support workers who assist with daily living activities, power wheelchair transfers, meal preparations and personal care.

Andrew’s home is full of character and love’, as family and friends can drop in at any time, with food and fun being the objective of his get-togethers. Andrew stays up to date with all the latest hits and flicks and is quick to boast about his love for sci-fi and everything Star Trek. He considers himself “eclectic” and is also a fan of musical theatre with Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables amongst his favourites.

For inspiration, Andrew picks up Joni Eareckson Tada’s autobiography to read from time-to-time. When asked what he gets out of this book he declares: “What’s a wheelchair? It’s just a way of getting around.”

 

On the bike track with Sargood on Collaroy

As part of our commitment to bridge the accessibility gap through technology, in consultation with our clients, at Sargood on Collaroy we launched our newest program, an Adaptive Mountain Biking Camp. Running over three days, the mountain biking camp takes customers through some of Greater Sydney’s best mountain biking trails.

The exhilarating program allows participants to either use their own adaptive mountain bikes or use the bikes on offer from Adaptive Concepts Australia to explore the rugged bushland terrain and try something different. There is a bike for everyone, with a variety of wheel sizes, geometry, and performances to cater for all abilities.

Sam, a regular Sargood guest, loves challenging himself on the trails exclaims: “I’ve learned a lot because back home I just ride on fire trials, and there’s nothing too challenging, whereas here I’m learning when to break and how to lean into corners.”

“This camp is ‘sick’, I’d recommend it to anyone,” adds Sam.

Join us as we #lookbeyond stereotypes and break down barriers to improve the lives of the 4.4 million Australians with disability this IDPwD. While IDPwD may be one day of the year, it’s important that we continue to increase public awareness, understanding, and acceptance every day. So, to bring in this celebration, make sure to get out in the community and attend some of the events in your area.

A few ways to get on board this IDPwD is to start a conversation in your community to promote awareness, listen to the stories and experiences of people with disability, take action for change, and spread the word online. Together we celebrate what it is to be different, and how, in turn, it strengthens our society.

Isabella Grant