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Interchange launches disability service

INTERCHANGE Gippsland unveiled its new office at 70 Watt Street, Wonthaggi, at the same time as it launched its Young Adult Service.

The service aims to provide individualised and responsive services to young adults with a disability.

“It’s about talking to the individuals about what their needs are and what their goals in life are,” Interchange Gippsland respite and support manager Heidi Gratton said.

The Young Adult Service assists people with a disability to achieve meaningful and realistic life goals through planned and supported community based care and activities.

Interchange has already been running successfully in Newborough.

The Wonthaggi centre offers respite options, as well as social, group activities.

Directors and staff see the new Wonthaggi office as a jumping off point for activities, rather than a gathering place.

“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you have to go to a special place to do your things,” Ms Gratton said.

Activities aim to get clients out in the community, making the most of the opportunities that are out there, Interchange Gippsland CEO Debbie Knight said.

“We strongly believe in social inclusiveness and the benefits of community participation.”

In the name of getting out and about, groups such as the friendship group, for people aged 18 to 30, meet on a regular basis at changing venues, staff member Wendy Milnes said.

“We go lots of different places. We might go bowling,” she  said.

Rory McGrath is a new member of the friendship group who says he joined for the social interaction.

“I’ve only just recently signed up, to try something different,” he said.

“My passion is wanting to work with animals.”

While Interchange initially wants to foster life skills in its clients, work skills are also on the horizon, Interchange president Peter Greenwood said.

“Ultimately, we’ll try and get them skilled up for employment,” he said.

However, Interchange Gippsland CEO Debbie Knight understood that young people are sometimes uncertain what they want from life.

She said Interchange Gippsland provides opportunities for them to try new things and discover more about themselves.

“Interchange believes that having access to new experiences, opportunities to discover individual strengths and options to take on new interests, is the key to self development and understanding what participants want in life,” Ms Knight said.

At the launch, Mr Greenwood spoke passionately about skill and dedication of the board and staff members of Interchange Gippsland, many of whom have disabled children.

He emphasised they are deeply involved in the issues facing young people with disabilities.

“We live it. We breathe it,” he said.

Launching Interchange: from left, Bass Coast Shire mayor Cr Neil Rankine, Interchange president Peter Greenwood, Bass MLA Ken Smith and Interchange Gippsland CEO Debbie Knight at the Wonthaggi opening of Interchange Gippsland’s new Young Adult Service for people with a disability.

Launching Interchange: from left, Bass Coast Shire mayor Cr Neil Rankine, Interchange president Peter Greenwood, Bass MLA Ken Smith and Interchange Gippsland CEO Debbie Knight at the Wonthaggi opening of Interchange Gippsland’s new Young Adult Service for people with a disability.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=10669

Posted by on Apr 23 2014. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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