Ability Links NSW is celebrating after reaching 1 million community connections made across the state.
Brett Pischke, Pathfinders’ Ability Links Coordinator, said the milestone highlights the important work Ability Links NSW does in supporting people to develop a sense of belonging in their communities and in making communities more inclusive.
“Ability Links NSW program wouldn’t thrive without our dedicated Linkers’ thorough knowledge of and connection with the communities we work in.”
“The 1 million and counting community connections that Linkers have made allow them to support people accessing the program to reach their goals and ultimately live the lives they want to live.”
“Overwhelmingly we find people want connection with their communities, but sometimes they’re not quite sure where to start,” Brett said. “That’s where Ability Links can help.”
“A community connection can be as simple as connecting someone with the local men’s shed and community garden or even working with a community group to support them in becoming inclusive.”
In the New England North West, Pathfinders’ Ability Links program made almost 18,000 community connections last year.
As part of the Ability Links program, Brett has been working with a young Inverell local for almost three years. When they first met, the participant suffered from extreme anxiety and hadn’t left his home in almost six months.
Now, he attends chiropractor visits, dentist appointments and education with Brett’s help. Together, they walk around town and enter shops – something the participant hadn’t done for nearly four years prior to working with Brett and the Pathfinders’ Ability Links NSW program.
“It’s a long, continuous process, and the community connections we’ve made have allowed for this young man to grow and reach huge milestones, like walking down the street or traveling out of town with a Linker,” Brett said.
“The post office has even offered to assist him in getting his passport photos done prior to opening so that he feels comfortable with more privacy. It’s connections like these that help our participants forge a sense of belonging and mastery in their communities.”
Pathfinders delivers Ability Links NSW across the New England North West. To find out more about Pathfinders Ability Links NSW program, call 0459 141 755 or visit www.pathfinders.ngo
Pathfinders is a leading not-for-profit supporting disadvantaged children and families in the New England, North West and Mid North Coast regions. Every week we provide hundreds of families with the help they need to get back on their feet.