APM Communities team member Ayesha Patterson was recently nominated as a finalist for Blind Australian of the Year.
Originally from Mandurah, Western Australia Ayesha was one of three finalists in the 2023 awards, with the eventual winner announced at the national Awards held in Brisbane on Saturday 28 October 2023.
The Blind Australian of the Year Awards are facilitated by Link Vision Ltd and they acknowledge and promote an equitable and inclusive Australia.
The award celebrates the exceptional contribution of a blind Australian who, by example, inspires others to excellence and by action, improves Australian community life.
“It was amazing being a finalist for these awards and it was such a great night and weekend of networking with others in Australia who are blind” Ayesha said of the experience
Growing connection and community for people with disability
Ayesha is a powerful advocate and facilitator of inclusive workplaces.
Ayesha is a vital member of the APM Communities local area coordination team in Mandurah and she was nominated by her colleagues Samantha Thomson and James Mouritz.
Her dedication to creating and strengthening community connections has had and will continue to have a profound impact on her regional home city.
Her advocacy comes from an all-too-common experience for those living with vision impairment – the challenge of getting a job.
Ayesha has proved that her skills and capacity have nothing to do with her condition through her work at APM Communities and her lived experience as a person with disability and a NDIS participant.
In her role, Ayesha works to effectively connect people living with disability with purposeful work.
She also supports employers who are committed to providing inclusive work environments with a pathway for progression for their diverse staff team members.
Project Disco and the success of Easybeatz
One of Ayesha’s passion projects, a socially inclusive event called Easybeatz.
As the head of the working group of ‘project disco’, she worked to revive this community disco dance event held at a local pub.
They produced three successful sell-out events in January 2023. Today, it supports over 100 attendees bi-monthly, to participate in a comfortable and welcoming space.
Ayesha supports her fellow members to build their own capacity as well as that of the host venue.
In addition to this, she is an active fundraiser for a range of assistance animal related organisations. She takes every opportunity to educate and empower those around her, with or without lived experience of disability.
As an avid user of assistive technology, she brings her understanding of the tools and strategies for living a full life independently to all around her.
APM Communities Community Development Team Leader Samantha who travelled with Ayesha to the awards ceremony in Brisbane said “Ayesha's mission is clear - to make Mandurah more accessible to all its residents, regardless of their abilities and it was such an easy nomination to complete as she met all of the criteria plus more.”
“It is a pleasure working together with her and to watch her grow in confidence as she takes on more responsibilities and advocacy for people with disability” she added.
Find out more about Ayesha's journey with disability and as a member of the APM Communities team:
As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.
Our Local Area Coordinators (LACs) help people with disability, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, families and carers to identify and access the support they need.