Olivia’s short stays with Northcott build independence

By Luisa Bustos, 11 February 2020 , Comments

“Going [to respite] gives me a break, gives mum a break and gives both my brothers a break. You have a lot of fun, meet new people and make nice friends,” says Olivia, a regular customer at our Tamworth short stay (respite) house.

Olivia spends one weekend a month at our respite service in Oxley Vale, four kilometres from the centre of Tamworth. It’s clear the weekends are popular with her. In mid January, she’s already thinking about her February visit.

“I go every month. I stay for two nights then go home Sunday afternoon. We do whatever the other customers want to do…because it’s good to ask the other customers first what they want to do,” she says.

Spending time away from her family is supporting Olivia to build her independence. Most weekends she participates in skills-building activities, as well as social outings with other customers and staff at the house.

“We do cooking and we go out and about. We do shopping. We do what the other customers want to do,” she explains.

“The staff are good. They are nice people and they are kind.”

Josh O’Brien, Northcott Tamworth’s Respite Coordinator says minor refurbishments throughout the house, as well as improvements to the program, have made the service more appealing to customers.

“This house is very modern, and a lot brighter and open-plan now. We recently refurbished with a new lounge and dining setting. We’re trying to make it as comfortable as possible. I want to work towards the house having a very relaxed atmosphere but also being a place for customers to work towards their goals of independence. Customers can get involved in the cooking and cleaning, but it’s also about relaxation and having fun,” he explains.

“Our program is all about customer choice and what they want to do. If there’s an event coming to Tamworth like the Tamworth Show or Carols by Candlelight, we’ll suggest they get along to that. If there’s not really anything on, they will work out together what they want to do throughout the weekend. We have indoor activities as well as activities in the community, such as hiking or shopping. It’s up to them.”

In addition to improving the service for local customers, Josh also has ambitions to attract customers who are looking for a holiday destination away from Sydney.

“I think it will be great for people who have never really seen regional NSW to come and see Tamworth and experience the farm life. The things that we take for granted everyday might be a new experience for them.”

Our Tamworth short stay (respite) house is suitable for all ages of children and adults with disability. It is fully equipped to provide a safe, accessible and comfortable stay with a variety of home-cooked meals to choose from and a full program of daily outings and in-house activities.

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Are you, or somebody you support, interested in a short stay in Tamworth with Northcott? Check out what our Oxley Vale respite house has to offer.

Time spent away from family is just as beneficial for carers as for those they support. 

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