The National Community Connector Program (NCCP) has received $20 million to help connect people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
The National program expands on the existing Community Connector programs, already supporting people with disability in some areas to be part of the community, making it now available on a national scale.
The National Community Connector program will focus on supporting CALD communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, people experiencing psychosocial disabilities, and ageing parents or carers of people with disability with accessing the NDIS.
The program will reach out to people with disability in rural and urban areas who are part of these ‘hard to reach’ communities to increase awareness of the NDIS and provide support for people to access the Scheme, says Minister Robert.
It will work with local non-governmental organisations and community organisations to place staff who are connected to people in CALD communities around Australia, where there is the greatest need for support among people with disabilities.
NDIS Partners and Community Connectors currently reach out and support potential or existing participants, through initiatives such as in-language webinars and radio programs, dedicated telephone services and online support programs.
Stuart Robert, Minister for the NDIS, says, “As trusted community members, Community Connectors will play a critical role in reaching out to people with disability in these harder-to-reach communities, increasing awareness of the NDIS and providing support for people to access the Scheme.
"We made a promise to deliver this program nationally, and as of today, we are now delivering the expanded National Community Connector program in urban and regional locations across Australia.”
In partnership with NDIS Partners in the Community, a number of peak disability organisations are working to deliver the new national program.
Organisations working on the program include:
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA)
National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
Mental Health Australia
First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN)
FECCA will be responsible for the engagement of subcontractors in Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory, while NEDA will be managing the program in New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT.
Minister Robert says, “These organisations have been selected to deliver the Community Connector program because of their bonds across these communities and specialised understanding of the issues and support needed.”
Mary Patetsos, Chairperson of FECCA, says she hopes the National Community Connector Program can make a difference to the lives of CALD people with disabilities.
“I thank the Government for working with FECCA and NEDA to address the specific needs of CALD communities in accessing the NDIS, and through this program, we hope we can make a difference."
Margherita Coppolino, NEDA President, says that the current Community Connectors Program is important for people with a CALD background as many face additional barriers to understanding, accessing and using NDIS supports.
“I am very excited about our new project and collaborating with FECCA, another major peak body for multicultural Australians. This program will facilitate real change in some of the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in our society,” Ms Coppolino adds.
Together with the Department of Social Services and Carers Australia, the National Disability Insurance Agency has also developed a virtual Community Connector support service and referral pathway for ageing parents and carers of people with disability.
What do you think about connecting communities to the NDIS? Tell us in the comments below or send an email to [email protected].