$2.2 million for Disability Equipment Grants program

I have been on this LotteryWest Disability Equipment Grants program since it started close to 10 years ago. Back then, With a budget of around $500,000 I marvelled at how small grants could turn someones life around by giving them the tools they needed for independence .

Of all the committees, boards, councils and advisory groups I have been on this one really gives me a sense of the community we are part of.

It constantly reminds me of that great Paul Kelly song-
“from little things, big things grow”.

Group photo taken at presentation of LotteryWest cheque to Disability Equiptment Grant Program

Group photo taken at presentation of LotteryWest cheque to Disability Equiptment Grant Program

This from Jacqui Caldwell, ILC Marketing & Communications Officer, sums it up Beautifully ;

I’ve been working at the Independent Living Centre for nearly one year and what a huge learning curve I’ve been on. With the ILC providing a range of services it takes a while to learn about each and every one of them. I know of and often hear about our grants and funding programs but today it really hit home about the difference these grants make to people’s lives.

Ms Andrea Mitchell MLA, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Disability Services, presented a $2.2 million cheque on behalf of Lotterywest to the ILC for the Disability Equipment Grants (DEG) Program. Following this, people who have received grants told their stories.

Lee, a man in his early seventies who has cerebral palsy, told how he began using a computer when he was 63 and how specialised computer equipment, purchased thanks to a DEG, has enabled him to share his sense of humour and communicate more with people as well as allowing him to pay his bills online and be more independent.

Belinda, mum of six-year-old Mikayla, who is diagnosed with Aicardi Syndrome and is dependent on her wheelchair to get around, shared how being able to convert their car into a wheelchair accessible vehicle has made a huge difference to their lives. Transferring Mikayla in and out of the car is now a lot less strenuous and makes decisions such as popping down to the shops with the kids to grab a loaf of bread much simpler.

These are just two stories – last year over 570 grants were provided to individuals to assist with funding equipment through the DEG program.

Blind Citizens Australia National Convention 26 – 27 October 2013

This year’s BCA convention will be held at the Bankstown Sports club in Sydney on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 October. The theme for convention is “Embracing Change”, so take a sneak peek at some of the sessions we have planned below:

To keep up on what is happening on Twitter use the Hashtag #BCACONV

National Disability Insurance Scheme
Q&A Take 2: Two Years On

Join Federal Discrimination Commission and BCA member, Graeme Innes, and see what NDIS will look like for people with disability, how a person can manage their plan and package of funding, the choices that may be available, and how people over the age of 65 and people who do not qualify will receive the assistance that they need. This will be a no holds barred discussion and is one not to miss! Come along with your own questions and get ready for a true Q&A style discussion that is sure to be energetic, informative and in, true BCA style, ranging in opinions!

Echolocation: Seeing with Sound (concurrent)

Have you heard about people who are blind who can easily avoid obstacles without contacting them with their cane? What about people that can determine what and where objects are in an unfamiliar environment without having to physically touch them? This is all made possible through echolocation: a technique which involves using echoes to determine where things are in space. Come along to this session, learn how echolocation works and find out how you can develop or enhance your own skills in this area.

Living with Vision and Hearing Loss (Concurrent)

A panel of speakers recount their experiences of living with vision and hearing loss and will invite questions and discussion from the floor.

Advocacy: How to walk the walk and talk the talk

This session is designed to provide you with some key foundation skills to negotiate effectively in order to achieve your advocacy goals. You will learn from some experts as well as from each other’s successes.

Branches: Where to now?

Local branches have Been integral to the ‘life’ of BCA as a forum for contributing to policy development and social engagement. However, with the busy lives people now lead, technological developments and new modes of communication, are Branches still relevant to BCA? This session explores and seeks the input of members on the future of BCA’s Branches and options for reform.

Accessible Recreation (concurrent)

Why limit yourself to playing adapted blind sport when you could be participating in a wide range of sport and recreational activities in your local community with sighted friends and family? In this session, you’ll find out about a range of activities suitable for people with varying levels of vision. The session will include the opportunity to test out some equipment and share your own inclusive sport and recreational experiences.

Accessible First Aid (concurrent)
Have you ever thought how helpless you would be in a situation where a friend, loved one, child or a stranger might need your help? First Aid must be accessible to all in the community, not just for people who are sighted. With knowledge, you can do the basics to provide practical assistance to keep a person alive until professional medical assistance arrives. Come and hear how you can enhance your knowledge with simple, hands-on guidelines. This session will also provide strategies on how to advocate for your needs when using services in a medical centre or hospital. Gain strategies on how to best present yourself to ensure that the information given to you is provided in the most appropriate manner for you to understand.

Networking in Social Situations

This session will look at the challenges people who are blind or vision impaired face when networking in a sighted world and when interacting with peers in noisy situations. Hear from presenters who network as part of their professional roles and explore techniques for communicating in noisy social situations. Don’t forget to bring your own tips on how you manage in noisy environments.

BCA: Have Your Say

This session will provide attendees with an opportunity to air their views about the future of Blind Citizens Australia.

That’s a brief summary, but you can access a full copy of the draft program from our website at

http://www.bca.org.au/

Ready to register?

Here’s all the information you’ll need:

Full registration is available for $185.00 per person. This Includes all sessions, lunch and refreshments on both days and a three course convention dinner on the Saturday night.