30 Nov A new independence reinvigorates Gail’s friendships
Before NDIS, life was a lot harder for Gail. She didn’t have any formal help and relied heavily on her friends for support.
“I was so frightened that they’d stop coming over because I really felt it was wrong to expect them to help me like that.”
Recently on a road trip to Port Macquarie with a girlfriend, Gail had to take the wheelchair she bought from a charity shop. With her disability, she can walk, but not very far.
“My friend drove and pushed me around in the chair and without her help, I wouldn’t have been able to get around.”
Gail first heard about the NDIS after moving into a new apartment in 2016.
“I had reached out to my local council to have some railings installed to help me get around my home. They let me know the NDIS would be starting in New South Wales and, if I applied, they would be able to help me.”
“A lady from Uniting Local Area Coordination named Marcia came to my home and into my little courtyard for my first plan meeting. She just waved her magic wand and changed my life. She was amazing. She said ‘we can help you. Me and the NDIS are here to help’ and I couldn’t believe it. She was an angel to me.”
“I had struggled so long on my own and with limited resources – to have somebody there offering help was, I can’t tell you how amazed I was. The process probably took a couple of months by the time I put the paperwork together and crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s, but it has been well worth it!”
Day-to-day Gail uses a motorised scooter she describes as “her legs”; without it she wouldn’t be able to have any independence.
“I take it on the train and it’s great because when I get to the destination, I can use it around shopping centres.”
When Gail first met her Local Area Coordinator, her motorised scooter was on its last legs. With her NDIS plan, she was able to replace it.
“I just feel so lucky. It makes a difference truly every minute of every day. I can’t tell you how important this is for me – it’s a godsend.”
“As part of my plan I also get access to readymade meals – and vegetables – which I’m notoriously terrible at having because cooking is difficult for me. Instead of relying on friends, I now have a lady who comes in once a week and helps me do all the little bits of cleaning that I can’t do physically myself and that has made such a difference to my life.”
One of Gail’s biggest goals has been to maintain her independence and to not have to rely so much on friends – and to eat better. She reports “they’ve pretty much all been ‘ticked’”.
“Just to have access to these things is amazing, and to know that they’re there to help me if I need it is such a comfort.”
“My goal moving forward is to just be as happy and to as independent as I can be.”
The Uniting Local Area Coordination program is working in partnership with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to roll out the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).