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Uniting and SSI welcome good news for Ability Links

Recently, the NSW Government released two evaluation reports highlighting that Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) has been very successful in reaching and linking people with disability and their families to community.

ALNSW is producing a return of $3 for every dollar invested, generating significant social and economic benefits to both Government and the broader community.

Uniting together with partner Settlement Services International (SSI) is one of the lead agencies to deliver the Ability Links program across NSW. It is now estimated that over 43,500 people are being supported by ALNSW each year across NSW.

The program is delivered by dedicated staff known as 'Linkers' who work with people with disability, their families and carers to help them plan for their future. Linkers empower people with disability to build on their strengths and skills, while developing their own networks within their local community, outside the traditional disability service sector.

SSI COO Stephen O’Neill believes that ALNSW is contributing to a significant shift in attitudes towards inclusion of people with disabilities, particularly in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

“Our bicultural and bilingual Linkers are accessing communities that have long been underrepresented and underutilising the support services available to them – both within the disability sector and other mainstream services.”

“So many of our participants tell us that having a Linker from the same cultural background or who speaks the same language has really helped them out of difficult and challenging circumstances, and facilitated the support they’ve needed,” Mr O’Neill said.

ALNSW is continuing to support the reforms to the disability service system as the transition to the NDIS is underway, by supporting people outside the traditional disability service system.

Uniting Ability Link Program Manager Ric Bless said these positive results speak for the positive relationships the Ability Links team works to build.

“With such strong evidence that Ability Links provides value for money and generates significant social and economic benefits for both the broader community and Government, we see a strong future for this program.

“Our Linkers spend time with their clients, they create meaningful personal connections – adopting a true person centred care approach. I hear about such inspiring success stories every day. I know the team is making a difference in the lives of people living with a disability,” Mr Bless said.

The NSW Government has committed funding of ALNSW until 30 June 2018.

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More information about Ability Links can be found via the Ability Links page on the Uniting website

The full reports can be accessed via the NSW Government Ability links website.