The APM Communities team in Darwin organised and facilitated a Community Forum at the end of August 2023, with specific focus on the barriers faced by diverse communities.
This free community event was in collaboration with the NDIS and Early Childhood Partner, Early Childhood Australia NT.
The Community Forum was held at the Darrandirra Child and Family Centre, which is run by an Aboriginal Corporation and staffed by First Nations peoples who provide all diverse communities wraparound services.
Morning tea for the event was generously provided by the Redcross Connected Women’s group – who offer a comprehensive migrant services programme for CaLD communities.
40 Community members from both First Nation and CaLD communities attended the forum, bringing diverse backgrounds together for the first time in the disability sector within Darwin.
APM Communities Project Manager Sufiya Salim led the discussions exploring concepts of disability, cultural definitions and barriers to access and supports.
APM Communities Local Area Coordinator John Pracy then provided an overview of the NDIS and detailed how LACs can support the local community when accessing disability supports and services.
Some of the barriers identified by each community during the forum included:
• Access and Stigma
• Understanding the NDIS processes
• Obtaining evidence of disability and challenge with waitlists
• Cultural appropriateness
• Complex trauma not considered
The forum was a great success with stakeholders from all groups eager to continue the working relationships formed.
The APM Communities team in Darwin will continue these discussions by forming a Diverse Communities working group that will collaborate on addressing barriers people with disability face.
They have organised a community roundtable with collaboration of community members and organisations from CaLD and First Nations and smaller working groups with interested parties to reach out to different communities.
These groups would be further supported by organisations and leaders in the community who would like to see all communities coming together.
Sufiya Salim said "Our Community Forum in Darwin had wonderful outcomes with organisations from both CaLD and First Nations including – community members, elders, people with disability, and family members with lived experience coming together to share their ideas and address barriers collectively.
"Attendees of the forum also increased their knowledge of accessing and utilising the NDIS. Our team is really looking forward to arranging our first roundtable meeting in November 2023 to expand on our discussions and collaborations."
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.