Community links

Operations manager Tina McManus is heading the Ability Links program which aims to connect people with disabilities to groups in the wider community.

Operations manager Tina McManus is heading the Ability Links program which aims to connect people with disabilities to groups in the wider community.

ABILITY Links is a new program which aims to connect those who have a disability with their personal interests such as a sporting, education or employment group.

The program will be launched in the NSW Southern Region, including Queanbeyan, on July 1. And it will be run jointly by Uniting Care and Settlement Services International.

Operations manager Tina McManus said Ability Links is mutually beneficial for both the person with the disability as well as the community group.

A total of 60 linkers will be employed across the region to help facilitate the program. They will assist the person with a disability, achieve their goals.

"The role of the linker is to work with the person with disability as well as their carer and family to connect to community groups," Ms McManus said.

"A lot of organisations haven't had the experience of working with a person with a disability. They're not sure what to do, that's where the role of the linker is very important."

Ability Links has experienced a lot of success across the Hunter Region since its launch in July 2013. A total of 750 people with a disability have been involved and more than 22,000 connections made, according to Ms McManus.

"The great thing about the program is there is no eligibility criteria. We really seek to support those who aren't already part of a disability service system," she said.

"There's no assessment, referral or evidence of diagnosis needed. It is for those aged between nine to 64-years-old."

For more information on Ability Links or to get involved as a person with a disability, or as a community group visit www.adhc.nsw.gov.au

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