14 May 2024

Local partnership provides Kowanyama NDIS solution

| Cape York Weekly
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The Kowanyama uLaunch NDIS team, including Sharissa Charlie and Kim Smith, are providing a local solution to the traditional problem of a lack of trained care staff in remote communities, and it is paying dividends for clients. Photo: Supplied.

A partnership between Kowanyama employment and NDIS providers is ensuring the remote western Cape York community has access to local support workers.

Over the past few months, former RISE Ventures Community Development Program participants Sharissa Charlie and Kim Smith have been working as support workers with uLaunch, the organisation delivering NDIS services to those in Kowanyama living with a disability.

In a collaborative effort, RISE Ventures helped the pair ready all the documentation required to undertake their training, which was provided by uLaunch NDIS business manager Edith Schultz.

NDIS national manager for uLaunch, Sarah Hanson, said the goal had always been to utilise local jobseekers to provide support services in Kowanyama.

“Our vision from the outset was to work closely with RISE Ventures and the community to employ local jobseekers to support the needs of people with disability,” she said.

“Through community consultation, it became obvious that there were people with disability not receiving NDIS support and, traditionally, there is a lack of available, trained staff within the care economy, particularly in remote towns and communities.”

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Ms Charlie said she was finding the work incredibly rewarding, adding it was providing a pathway to develop new professional skills.

“Working with uLaunch gave me the opportunity to learn new skills; it is a rewarding job that we are helping our clients,” she explained.

It was a case of seeing the impact her contribution had on individual clients and the greater community for Ms Smith.

“I am happy that I am helping and supporting our clients,” she said.

“It is a good feeling that I am able to help the community and our clients.

Based on the success of the Kowanyama partnership, Ms Hanson said uLaunch was currently in discussions with other remote communities to see whether they could benefit from the successful model.

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