Thursday 3 December marks the 28th anniversary of International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), a day aimed at breaking down barriers and celebrating abilities.
Maroondah Deputy Mayor, Cr Nora Lamont, said the awareness day is a wonderful way for individuals, businesses and community groups to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions, skills and achievements of people who have a disability.
“IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people who have a disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and wellbeing,” Cr Lamont said.
The 2020 theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’ also focuses on spreading awareness and understanding of disabilities that are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain, sight and hearing impairments, learning difficulties and cognitive dysfunctions, among others.
“We encourage the community to show their support for IDPwD by sharing messages and their own stories through online and social media using the hashtag #DisableStereotypes,” Cr Lamont said.
“It is important for people to realise that people who have a disability are no different to anyone else in our community. They deserve the same rights and respect as other citizens, but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen.
“That is why a key part of the IDPwD campaign is to recognise the contributions that people who have a disability make to our community.
“One example of this is the dedication of the Maroondah Disability Advisory Committee (MDAC) which was formed in 2010 to strengthen the link between Council and people living with a disability within the Maroondah community.
“Members of the MDAC provide strategic advice and advocacy, helping Council to promote social inclusion and participation of people with a disability in the community.
“In the 10 years that the committee has been operating, it has successfully established and maintained a two-way flow of information between Council and people with a disability, their carers and relevant service providers,” Cr Lamont said.
“MDAC members have worked closely on a number of initiatives to improve the lives of people with a disability, including helping Council in the development and review of its Disability Policy and Action Plan. Members are also given the opportunity to provide valuable input into decision-making processes when framing local policies and plans to ensure equitable access to the services, facilities and programs offered by Council,” she said.
Council also provides a number of services to assist people who have a disability to be an active member of the community.
“There are a range of services at Council’s leisure facilities which provide an opportunity for people who have a disability to get involved and meet people in a supported environment,” Cr Lamont said.
“Council’s Wyreena Community Arts Centre also provides a number of art and craft classes for people with additional needs. These sessions are extremely popular for people of all ages and abilities, with the participants taking part in pottery, painting and drawing,” she said.
“There are regular outings such as supported shopping trips and library visits, as well as special day trips and planned activity groups.”
Council’s Home and Community Care (HACC) program also supports frail aged and people with a disability and their carers to maximise their independence by supporting them to remain at home and connected to their community. This includes services such a Meals on Wheels, respite care and social support programs.
Council’s Guide to Services for People with Disabilities also lists a wide range of services, including a section for mental health workers and carers.