Wheatbelts Got Talent: Bringing out the stars in everyone

In Northam, WA an inspiring initiative called 'Wheatbelts Got Talent' is giving people with all abilities a platform to shine and showcase their talents.

The idea came from the aspirations of people with disabilities wanting to be more involved in their community.

A dedicated working group was formed, and auditions were held to discover hidden talents and celebrate diversity.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

Finding suitable venues was a challenge, as ensuring a safe, welcoming environment was a top priority.

Pubs and hotels were off the list due to regional concerns about drugs and alcohol, so the team worked hard to find inclusive, accessible spaces.

Creating a comfortable setting was key.

By offering safe spaces for auditions, the project aimed to break down barriers to participation and invite everyone to join in.

APM Communities provided support to the working group in setting up guidelines and keep track of the project's progress.

With detailed documentation and the necessary consents in place, the events ran smoothly.

“Wheatbelts Got Talent has made a real impact beyond just entertainment. It’s brought the community together, built relationships with local stakeholders, and even created job opportunities for some participants,” said APM Communities Local Area Coordinator Mykala Nelson.

The event kicked off with a Welcome to Country by Jamie Garlett, who has a vision impairment.

Jamie has since gained an ABN and started a cultural business, now supporting local shires with their cultural needs.

To date, Wheatbelts Got Talent has showcased the talents of over 300  individuals and over 20 with disabilities, providing them with an opportunity to perform in front of enthusiastic audiences.

This significant participation highlights the community's commitment to inclusivity and support for the event.

One of the performers, Rylan Reedy shared his experience: "Participating in Wheatbelts Got Talent has been a life-changing experience. It gave me the confidence to share my talent with others and feel truly accepted by my community."

The project has also seen widespread community involvement and support from various stakeholders including the Northam Shire, Avon Youth Communities, Northam RSL and Ravensfield Farm.

Looking to the future, the project plans to collaborate with the Northam Shire, using their local sound dome for the next round of talent discoveries.

They’re also gearing up to celebrate the International Day of People with Disabilities, highlighting the voices and talents of individuals who’ve often been overlooked.

Wheatbelts Got Talent is a great example of the importance of inclusive social events, proving that everyone deserves a chance to shine.

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.