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MY FUTURE MY CHOICE EXPO

W H AT I S Y O U R ABILITY? A simple question raises so many interesting responses. This was the question asked of everyone who attended the Festival of Abilities held in Tamworth on July 4. The festival was a showcase to raise awareness of those with a disability showing their ability. Our Ability Links Linkers are always on the lookout for volunteers who can work with our participants. An ability doesn’t have to be a learned skill or talent. Quite simply, it can be giving your time to that person, by listening, making them a cup of tea or reading them a book. One person in particular at the festival said, “I don’t have any abilities”. After talking with a Linker, they started to feel that they could in fact make someone’s life better.

The Festival of Abilities community event was a celebration of all abilities and encouraged inclusion for everyone, whatever their age or ability. Entertainment, arts and craft as well as many sports were just some of the things on offer. Wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis were very popular and were supported by Wheelchair Sports NSW. Graffiti art was also in demand, letting participants showcase their artistic skills on cars and other materials. Crowds were also entertained by two local performers, as well as a flash mob. With up to 1,000 people attending the day, the event will be a yearly event on the Ability Links Tamworth calendar. Come along to the Disability Expo to be held on the 9th September at the Armidale Bowling Club and share with us your ability.

HARLEY GOOD RIDERS BRING HAPPINESS A N D

CELEBRATING 12 MONTHS OF OPERATION, PATHFINDERS ABILITY LINKS PROGRAMME HAS GROWN FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH, PROVIDING ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY, THEIR FAMILIES AND CARERS THE HELP THEY NEED TO LIVE INCLUSIVE LIVES WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITY.

A

bility Links “Linkers”, as they are communities for improving inclusion for those known, work with people with with disabilities and their personal goals disability who are aged 9 to 64 continue. years, their families and carers to Jordan is legally blind but has an outstanding help them plan for their future, memory and the gift of the gab. Ability Links build on their strengths and skills, and develop was able to get him involved at a local boot networks in their own communities so they can camp challenge by giving Jordan the task of do what they want with their lives - outside of announcing the sponsors throughout the day. the traditional disability service system. Jordan was given the list of sponsors one week Linkers are making a difference to many before the event, which he memorised and people in our community, including Chris, on the day he was able to list all of the who was an avid motorcycle rider sponsors and give their business a plug. The before his stroke. As a stroke Linker was impressed by Jordan’s survivor, he had lost the full announcing and approached use of one of his legs the local radio station to see and arm and also had if he was able to volunteer difficulty with speech. with them. Two of s ha t or A good rapp d The Linker met with the radio announcers he is bl ta es been with e, rid Chris and got to listened to Jordan’s st fir r ei th from provide know him, what his story and were happy Nigel offering tothe interests are and the to help out where more rides and ing to possibility of rid ng lunch assistance he would they could. Jordan Walcha and havi . ” need. The Linker met the announcers, re tu fu in the near searched for riders and together they have and rider groups within developed a weekly radio the community willing to spot that will cover two of provide rides for Chris. Jordan’s hobbies; sport and Chris’ first ride occurred this karaoke. Jordan has research to do month with local rider Nigel and his 1700cc over the weekend for his weekly Monday radio Harley Davidson, who volunteered his time to gig, and he is happy to be using his announcing take Chris. The smile on Chris’ face said it all skills on a regular basis. from that first ride, beaming with happiness There are many stories just like these, with before and especially after the ride. A good individuals and families looking for solutions rapport has been established from their first which meet the needs of their family members ride, with Nigel offering to provide more rides in a more cohesive way, to fit with their goals. and the possibility of riding to Walcha and Pathfinders Ability Links local Linker in Armidale having lunch in the near future. can be contacted on 6711 1209 or 0409 137 993. The inroads Linkers are making in their

new england focus.

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New England Focus i99  

Issue 99 of the New England Focus

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