The journey towards independent living
As more and more of us are getting officially prepared for the NDIS we all find ourselves thinking about our plans for the future. Personally, as I hear the chatter around the disability community, I’m coming to realise that the main thing the majority of people my age want to get out of the NDIS is the ability to live independently or in a shared environment of their choosing.
On a personal level and like many others, I have been on this journey and tossing up a range of options for many years now. As some of you may remember, this came more vividly into my thoughts last year when I received a Community Support Package which was surprisingly, a significantly larger sum of funding than I had expected. At the time I was very excited and had plans to move out almost immediately.
Admittedly this didn’t happen and a year on I’m still trying to work out the logistics of moving out while exploring as many options as possible. In doing this I need to consider specific factors such as my physical care needs, personality type, interests, safety as well as specific preferences such as wanting to live close to Richmond in the Hawkesbury as its close to my family, where I grew up and my university. It is through the process of fitting all these needs and wants together that I feel it’s been a much longer journey than I initially expected.
However, in saying that I’m excited to say that over the past few months I’ve had discussions with an inspiring team of Northcott managers about a possible solution to my needs and desires. To put it simply, the concept we as a team thought of was to utilise Northcott’s connection with Western Sydney University (which is my university) and offer students (or others) a chance to receive free rent in exchange for after hours care for me and hopefully other suitable clients of Northcott.
Being a uni student myself, as well as having close discussions with friends from all walks of life, I get the sense that if this scheme is successful it has potential to assist all parties involved. By this I mean that it has the opportunity to benefit both the clients by giving them the opportunity to live in a youngish environment and the ability to be as independent as possible. Similarly, it will provide housemates with the opportunity to gather some experience in disability as well as the chance to afford to study and move forward in their lives.
So to explain a bit more of how this thought came about, going back to a few months, I was admittedly getting desperate to pretty much “move out somehow” and got in contact with the accommodation team at Northcott. At the time the initial reason I made the contact was to find out about Northcott’s temporary accommodation so I could use it as a stepping stone to my ultimate goal to house share with either an able bodied friend or flatmate.
While explaining my ultimate goal in my email I honestly thought that the accommodation team would just view it as a distant hope and give me the general information I needed for my Plan B. Instead, much to my excitement, this was not the case and I came to realise how exciting and realistic my initial plan sounded to the accommodation team. I can still vividly remember the feeling of immense hope and excitement that came over me when I read this initial email from the accommodation team. I was so excited that I of course literally got as many contacts and sent out as many emails as I could straight away.
Although it’s been a few months now and it’s been a slow process, it is clear that this initial excitement has stuck, with immense help from the accommodation team as well as my amazing manager. I am currently emailing and contacting as many officials as I can and although it will obviously be a long journey I know I have a whole team driving my vision with me in the hope that one day it will become just one of the many services offered by Northcott.