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Important Changes – Learning & Lifestyle

Learning & Lifestyle Term Dates 2024

The Voice to Parliament

Wallara is an organisation that changes lives for marginalised people every day and we are encouraging everyone to be informed about the Voice to Parliament discussion ahead of the upcoming referendum.

We are providing you with links to websites and local events that can provide more information and help you make your decision. 

On Saturday, 14 October 2023, Australians will have their say about changing the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The Voice will be an independent, representative body for First Nations peoples. It would advise the Australian Parliament and the Government, and it would give First Nations peoples a say on matters that affect them.

On referendum day, voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question. 

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

We encourage you to learn more about the Voice to Parliament, by visiting the following websites.

Information on the Uluru Statement of the Heart can be found at https://ulurustatement.org/

Upcoming community events that might be of interest to attend:

Other resources to consider include:

A Message in Support of Our Voice Australia (OVA)

Message from Wallara CEO Phil Hayes-Brown

Building Pathways

Wallara delivers all abilities education, working with people over the age of 18 to achieve their NDIS goals, hopes and dreams. We tailor our programs to suit the diverse needs of our clients through specialty service offerings that form a pathway for development and success. 

Explore opportunities available at Wallara in our Building Pathways Brochure.

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Visit Wallara’s Open House

Join Wallara’s Independent Living Advisor, James Ayling, for an Open House at our self-contained unit in Dandenong.

This spacious one-bedroom unit is close to shops, trains, parks and outdoor spaces. Most conveniently, it is located next door to our Potter Street Learning and Lifestyle Campus, and it is ready and available for short-term stays.

James will be available between 9.30am to 4.00pm on Friday 10 February to show you through the unit and answer any questions you may have about short-term accommodation or independent living options.

RSVP your attendance to [email protected] and call James on 0457 880 487 upon arrival.

We look forward to showing you through this centrally located unit.

View a short video about Wallara’s Short-term Accommodation here

what’s on january ’23

Wallara has put together a fabulous Recreation and Social Events calendar for January 2023. You can review all of the details below.

Express you interest to attend one or more of these great activities by downloading the form above and returning via email to [email protected] or you can complete your expression of interest through our online form below.

https://wallara.com.au/rsejanuary/

Invis-Ability Podcast Season 2 Coming

After the success of Season 1 of Wallara’s Invis-Ability podcast, exploring the experiences and stories of people living with an intellectual disability (ID), Season 2 is set to launch on Tuesday 7 September.

But as we are in the midst of the Paralympics it’s a great time to listen to a previous season 1 episode focussed on sport and in particular the little-known story about the Sydney Paralympics and the Spanish ID basketball team. It’s a story that led to ID athletes being excluded from the next two Paralympic Games. You can listen to the episode here


OUR HOSTS

Phil Hayes-Brown is the CEO of Wallara, which has more than 500 clients with an ID.   His 18-year-old daughter, Phoebe, also has a moderate ID.

Don Elgin is head of Wallara Online, and a Paralympic medallist with lived experience as an amputee. He knows a bit about the ID community through sport but is embarking on a journey to learn more.

Season 2 Launching Tuesday 7 September

Season 2 is all about education options for people with intellectual disabilities. Across the season, Don and Phil speak to movers and shakers in the field to unpack the different options that families face, including whether to send their child to a special school, to a mainstream school or a combination of both.

They discuss the intricacies of education policy and the foundation of the NDIS with Tanya Plibersek, the Shadow Minister for Education.  Education options for children and adults with different abilities with Professor Umesh Sharma, Monash University’s Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion. Hear from parent and author Julie Fisher and her experiences with education for her son, Darcy, who has Down Syndrome. And Phil’s good friends, Trace and Martha Haythorn, prominent advocates for the ID community, join the show from the United States.

Throughout these conversations, the importance of choice in education is a major theme. It is vital that people with different abilities, and their carers, have a say in how and where they are educated.

Invis-Ability Season 2 Episode 1 – Education Policy – released Tuesday 7 September

Episode 1 with guest Tanya Plibersek will be covering issues like inclusive education, supported employment and more.

Make sure you’re subscribed to the Invis-Ability podcast on Spotify or Apple podcasts so you don’t miss the release of this and future episodes. And if you haven’t already listened to season 1, have a listen to the episodes here

New episodes released fortnightly

Launching 3rd December Invis-Ability Podcast

Invis-Ability is a new podcast by Wallara exploring the experiences and stories of people living with an intellectual disability (ID).

 

The ID community is the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s largest group, accounting for roughly 30% of recipients, but their voices are often unheard or misunderstood.

To try and change that, Wallara CEO Phil Hayes-Brown and Paralympian Don Elgin will speak to people living with an ID, carers, and families, as well as business and community leaders.

Drawing on their own experiences and the experiences of their guests, Phil and Don will ask about what it really means to have an ID, how and where inclusion falls short, the importance of language, public perceptions of disability, and much more.


OUR HOSTS

     

Phil Hayes-Brown is the CEO of Wallara, which has more than 500 clients with an ID.   His 18-year-old daughter, Phoebe, also has a moderate ID.

Don Elgin is head of Wallara Online, and a Paralympic medallist with lived experience as an amputee. He knows a bit about the ID community through sport but is embarking on a journey to learn more.

Invis-Ability 5 – LIVE – International Day of the Disability with Stacey Edwards, a proud young woman with Downs Syndrome, & Jeff Kennett

 

Join Us on Zoom for this one LIVE

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

When:   Dec 3, 2020 11:00 AM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Topic:   Wallara Podcast Launch Webinar

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Pj3oz1J3RLOQwPCzGyKjlg

** After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

 

INVIS-ABILITY EPISODES

Invis-Ability 1 – Where to begin? Starting out in the ID space

In our opening episode, Phil and Don set the agenda for Invis-Ability, laying out what they want to cover and discover.

Don recounts his own lived experience as an amputee. Then, he discusses what he knows about the ID community, mostly from his experiences as a teammate of ID athletes at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics.

Our hosts pause to consider the language we use in the disability space, before Phil talks about his lived experiences with his daughter, Phoebe, who has an ID.   He shares what that has meant for Phoebe, and the journey they’ve been on together.

Phil and Don work through perceptions and misconceptions about intellectual disability, before finishing with a discussion about representation and visibility.

Invis-Ability 2 – Lived experience and advocacy with Colin Hiscoe

Phil and Don are joined by Colin Hiscoe, a powerful advocate who lives with a mild ID, for an emotional episode about the struggle the ID community has faced to be included and accepted.

Colin was a founding member of Reinforce, a Melbourne-based ID advocacy group. He talks at length about his own lived experience, including the discrimination he has faced in his life.

Colin discusses how that affected him and the people close to him, and what has changed in the inclusion space in recent years.

To finish, the trio discusses whether institutions designed to support the ID community, like group homes, special schools and supported employment, are a help or a hindrance.

Invis-Ability 3 – ID on the screen with Tracey Corbin-Matchett

Tracey Corbin-Matchett has a daughter with an acquired brain injury and is also the CEO of Bus Stop Films, which provides film studies course for students with ID.

She joins Phil and Don to discuss representations of disability on screen, how adequate they are when it comes to including the ID community, and what storytellers can do to broaden public perspectives on ID.

Phil and Don then ask Tracey about her own experiences. She discusses her life with a hearing impairment, caring for her daughter, and working at Bus Stop Films with the ID community.

Invis-Ability 4 – ID inclusion in our sporting theatres with Peter Willoughby & Robyn Smith

Don competed alongside ID athletes at the Sydney Paralympics, but then had to vote on the ongoing participation of the ID community in the Games.   The reason? Spain’s ID basketball team blatantly cheated their way to gold by fielding ineligible athletes. It ultimately led to a long hiatus for ID athletes from the Games.   Don and Phil recall that story and the controversial vote that followed. Then, they’re joined by Peter Willoughby, who played ID basketball for Australia at the 2000 Games.

Peter talks about his own experience in ID sport, especially what transpired in Sydney. He delves into how he felt about Spain’s cheating, how the events hurt the inclusion of the ID community, and how they affected his life and career.   To round out the episode, Robyn Smith joins the show. She was a Paralympic team leader in Sydney and is now the CEO of Sport Inclusion Australia.

Robyn talks through her memories from Sydney, her work in inclusive sport, and the broader battle for inclusion in a space Australians like to believe is more inclusive than most.

Don’t ignore Dylan Alcott’s wheelchair by Phil Hayes-Brown

Australia’s Dylan Alcott has roared into the limelight with a historic win at Wimbledon and a TV Logie to boot. He is the face of disability inclusion at the moment, and what a wonderful moment it is.

I watched the Grand Slam final over the weekend with my family, including my daughter Phoebe who has a moderate  intellectual disability, and we cheered as Dylan choked back tears as he lifted the Wimbledon trophy after blitzing British rival Andy Lapthorne in straight sets, 6-0 6-2.

The win was historic because it was Wimbledon’s first wheelchair event. What an amazing moment for the 28-year-old and for disability inclusion. Finally, people of all abilities are being celebrated.

But when I was discussing the win over the weekend with a friend, they said: “Isn’t it a pity the event is called the ‘Quad Wheelchair’ singles. It’s not inclusive.”

It’s a vexed question that gets raised with me a lot in my role as CEO of a disability organisation. How do we get greater inclusion – by celebrating difference or by pretending it doesn’t exist?

Dylan himself hinted at this in his acceptance speech

“Today, everyone there did not care I was in a wheelchair. They’re like, ‘How good is this match? How good is he playing? He’s a good bloke’,” he told the packed crowd.

In all the talk of inclusion I think there is a very real risk that we forget another important concept – diversity.

Inclusion suggests that bringing groups together is a good thing, whereas diversity says more options and choice are better than less. It is a celebration of our differences.

This same debate occurred recently with the Commonwealth Games which included several para-sport events. Some commentators insisted we should just have one inclusive sporting event going forward with all the events together side by side because that’s how we achieve greater awareness and inclusion.

While I like the theory of this, I found myself disagreeing because if that occurred it would actually mean that many of the para events would have to be cut out of the schedule and the end result might well be less opportunity for these athletes instead of more.

Another example is that the AFL has an Indigenous Players Association in addition to the Players Association. There are some critics who have said this isn’t helpful – that we should just have one Players Association that represents everyone. I disagree. The driver for the indigenous offshoot were that the main Players Association wasn’t properly set up to represent indigenous players who wanted their own voice.

In terms of disability in the media, it’s fabulous seeing Dylan Alcott have so much success and I would love to see more people with disability represented in the mainstream media.

But I  strongly believe we also need separate voices and forums and spaces to achieve greater inclusion.

Australia has a national TV channel dedicated to multiculturalism in SBS, and an Indigenous channel in NITV. Both are crucial to reminding us about our cultural diversity and play valuable roles in making us more culturally inclusion. I couldn’t imagine how all those communities would be better served by having just one “inclusive” channel. And who would decide what content and which voices would be left out? The risk of homogenisation is very real.

One of my own passions is to see the creation of a channel devoted to disability. It would broadcast programs, series and movies depicting people living with disability breaking barriers and the technological advances that are changing lives.

But when I suggested this idea to someone recently who has a similar vision for greater disability inclusion , I was told it would be a bad thing because it would not be inclusive. A separate channel would reinforce the separateness of disability, they said. Better to just have a few programs about disability on the ABC as national broadcaster.

I disagree that such a channel, and similar ideas, would set back the cause for greater disability awareness and inclusion.

In fact, such a channel could actually be a major step forward for disability inclusion because it would create a space for the entire community living with, affected by or interested in disability to gather and share stories. Remember, 1-in-5 people live with a disability and many more are affected indirectly, so it’s a huge potential audience.

A separate channel could become a national brand champion, highlighting great examples of inclusion in the workplace, in schools and in the community and be a powerful driver of change. My family would love to see a channel like this bring all those stories – including Dylan Alcott’s historic win – in one place.

So there are many differences of opinion about the best way to achieve inclusion and Dylan Alcott is helping us all have it at a national level.

 

Sport and the media play such pivotal roles in the struggle for greater inclusion and Dylan’s success in both spaces is having a huge impact.

Phil Hayes-Brown is CEO of Melbourne-based disability support agency Wallara and was formerly in senior roles in the corporate world, the National Basketball Association in the US and the Hawthorn football club. His daughter has an intellectual disability.

The importance of giving back by Taimi Clinch

People are hardwired to contribute and communal in nature. Adults with disability are no different in their desire to give back. Wallara Australia’s Dandenong St group are like many community groups that want to do more for their community.

Kat Morgan, one of Wallara’s Support Coaches said “we’ve noticed over the years that many of our clients thrive off of giving back and participating in the community and when they do something to help someone they feel a massive sense of achievement and feel that they are making a change in the world!” Wallara is lucky to have Kat’s creativity for finding worthy projects, some of which include collecting bottle tops that are then turned into prosthetic arms for children overseas. The group collect, sort and drop the bottle tops to the local Envision depot and encourage all our clients, family members and staff to contribute to this worthy cause.

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Bob Bottroff is shown holding a container of bottle tops which will be sent off to envision to be turned into prosthetic arms & then shipped overseas to be given to a child in need. 

Bob loves the idea of helping children overseas.

The group also collect & prepare mats out of reusable plastic bags for homeless people in Melbourne. Giving back to other vulnerable people is a great way of strengthening the community. Giving back creates a sense of gratitude for what we have in the world.

 

Janette Sault is a part of a group who twice a month prepares a meal that goes to Basecamp (similar to cornerstone soup kitchens) and is providing members of the Berwick community with a free dinner and dessert. Janette likes cooking and keeping people happy. 

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The secret to happiness and wellbeing seems to be contribution. MRI scans show a warm glow in the reward section of the brain when people give back.

 

Kat said, “by having our clients involved in community organisations it shows the community that people with disabilities can do & contribute just as much and sometimes MORE!”

 

If you are interested in giving back via Wallara, please email [email protected]

 

Taimi Clinch, COO – Wallara Australia

Wallara Logistics Grand Opening

Today Wallara’s new Logistics facility at 160 Bridge Road, Keysborough was officially opened by The Premier of Victoria. A crowd of over 200 joined in the celebration which coincided with Wallara’s 60th anniversary. The agenda was full, with tours of the 8000m2 state of the art facility, a supported accommodation forum, the launch of our new website, and the official unveiling of a plaque to mark the occasion.

The event was made even better by the Premier’s generous grant of $35K  for automatic doors to facilitate access to the incredible central greenspace in the atrium. There were also some farewells as we bid Garry Baker a happy retirement after 10 years leading Wallara Logistics and said ”see you soon” to Director John Shields after 9 years on the Board. John will continue on as a volunteer to help with future infrastructure projects. Several current and potential corporate customers attended.

It was a fantastic day to reflect on Wallara’s journey over the past 60 years and re-imagine our future as we welcome in a new era of logistics excellence.

Dreams do come true!

It pays to have friends in high places – Wallara Logistics resident Essendon supporter, Brett ‘Bomber’ Templeton recently met fellow Essendon tragic, and Victorian Premier, Dan Andrews when he toured and officially opened our new facility in Bridge Rd, Keysborough.

Bomber had all his dreams come true on Friday night when he got to hang with all his favourite players after Dan put a call into Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell who arranged a post-game changeroom pass for him. The game didn’t go the way he wanted, but he got to speak with several players, including Essendon legend Justin Madden. He also got photos with many of his heroes, including this one with No. 43 Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.

If you have a spare half an hour, stop Bomber and ask him how his night was! He hasn’t stopped talking about how great it was and who he got to meet.

Thanks to all who not only made Bomber’s night, but made his year. The only thing that could top it is if they bring home the 2019 flag!

Great job Stacey!

Kao Brands is a corporate customer of Wallara Logistics, providing work for supported employees at our new building at 160 Bridge Rd in Keysborough. Recently they held their Brands Leadership Summit in Camberwell and asked Wallara client, Stacey Edwards, to present at the summit.

Stacey told her story with pride and handled the Q&A session like a seasoned professional! She always likes talking about her life, and especially likes representing Wallara. The Kao Brands staff loved the presentation and were thoroughly engaged for the entire session.

It was wonderful to see Kao giving back in terms of corporate social responsibility. We hope that there will be many more opportunities for Wallara client ambassadors to address companies such as Kao and share their stories with a wider audience.

Congratulations to Stacey on doing such an amazing job!

Wallara’s Pop Up Shop is on the move!

Wallara’s retail space at Dandenong Plaza offers an amazing range of gifts for men, women and children, and we now have a portable shop that we can take out and about to businesses in the area.

Thank you to Ventura Bus Lines for hosting our Pop Up Shop last week at their Dandenong Depot and supporting people with different abilities to learn retail skills.
We look forward to taking our Pop Up Shop to Ventura Depots each month, and with the festive season just around the corner, what better way to avoid the Christmas rush than a shop that comes directly to you!
If you would like Wallara to set up a Pop Up Shop at your workplace or event, give our head office a call on 9792 2985.

Getting involved with government

Acting CEO, Taimi Clinch, and Ambassador Chloe attended the local Mornington Peninsula Shire Council meeting this week to learn more about community engagement and the plans for sustainability on the Peninsula.

We are focusing on self advocacy at Sages Cottage Farm and ensuring that, as much as possible, our clients (adults with different abilities) are included in conversations with government.

Chloe thought the room looked a bit like Canberra! The Councillors took questions from the floor and it was great to see so many local residents and organisations attending to contribute their voice.

Con Kelly featured in Retail World magazine