Part of the vital work that PDCN undertakes involves establishing and facilitating peer support groups for people with disability, facilitated by people with disability, across all of New South Wales. These provide a chance for people with disability to build peer networks, and an opportunity to build individual and group skills by learning from each other, and by bringing in guest speakers.
The Shoalhaven Self Advocacy Group recently welcomed the new Minister for Disability Services Gareth Ward to their monthly meeting as a guest speaker. Minister Ward was generous with his time, talking about the challenges he faced growing up as a person with disability in the local area and his desire to speak up for the more vulnerable members of our society.
Members of the group also had the opportunity to speak with Minister Ward about the positive role that the Shoalhaven Self Advocacy Group plays in their life, particularly the social interaction and support from other members. Several people also discussed an increased capacity to speak up on issues that are important to them, and the value of the guest speakers and information provided within the group.
Of course, the NDIS was also a hot topic, and group members expressed both positive and negative experiences, asking Minister Ward for his advice on their concerns. He answered each question individually, admitting that not all people with disability are covered by the NDIS, and touching on the importance of advocacy groups in assisting people to deal with problems in their life. Other topics included the independence of the new NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner, and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
We thank Minister Ward for spending time with the group and learning about the important role it plays in developing members’ capacity to participate meaningfully in society. If you’re interested in finding out more about PDCN’s peer support groups, find out more and register on our Peer Support Group page.