Café with a cause at Kangaroo Island Airport

Airline passengers touching down at one of South Australia’s most popular tourist destinations are now able to get their caffeine fix after a disability service organisation established its first social enterprise at the Kangaroo Island airport.

Not-for-profit organisation Mobo Group strengthened its presence in the state’s regions this week when it opened a café at the newly upgraded Kangaroo Island Kingscote Airport, providing employment opportunities for locals living with a disability.

The yet-to-be-named café is currently serving hot beverages and small treats to visitors flying in and out of the the island, giving Mobo employees a chance to build social and vocational skills.

CEO of Mobo Group Andrew Ramsey says he is looking forward to witnessing the many benefits the café will create for employees, patrons and Kangaroo Island’s tourism industry.

Airline passengers order coffee at the newly opened café run by the Mobo Group at the Kangaroo Island Kingscote Airport.

Not only will Mobo employees be provided with employment, they will have the chance to receive barista training, develop their social skills through engaging with customers and will also become tourist ambassadors for the region.

“This new café will enable people living with a disability to be the best that they can be, by giving them the opportunity for sustained employment within the community as well as employment-related support,” he says.

“The café is our first business enterprise on Kangaroo Island and we really look forward to being an even greater part of the community and helping to support the tourism trade and those transiting through the airport.”

Although the airport café is the organisation’s first social enterprise on the island, Mobo Group is long delivered youth services, alcohol and drug programs and run the local Centrelink agency.

The new café complements the recently upgraded Kingscote airport.

“We hope that this will be the first of a number of social enterprises which can be developed on the island, building on the support that we already provide to Kangaroo Island residents living with a disability,” Andrew says.

Kangaroo Island Council CEO Andrew Boardman says the café will be a welcome addition to the airport, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar upgrade.

The State and Federal government funded the works, with the council also developing the project.

“The opportunity to leverage council infrastructure to create opportunities for all in our community is a key thrust in the design of the new facilities, and the council is looking forward to this initiative being the start of great things to come in this area,” Mr Boardman says.

Mobo Group employee Bec Davis restocks the beverages. Bec, along with fellow employees Carmel and Julie, were instrumental in bringing the café to fruition.

Mobo Group supports more than 200 people with disabilities in finding employment and engaging in employment-related support services across metropolitan and regional SA.

The organisation was formed from the merger of two disability enterprises, Hands On SA and Finding Workable Solutions and has a presence in regional areas of Berri, Brinkley, Goolwa, Totness, Mt Barker and Victor Harbor.

Mobo runs a number of business enterprises across the state in document destruction, firewood, food packaging, garden maintenance, mailing campaigns, packaging and processing services, product assembly, print finishing, sewing services and salvage shops.

It is a registered provider of NDIS services, and supports people with disabilities in finding a job, transitioning from school to work, accessing alcohol and drug awareness, and youth services.

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Newly polished Grevillea House has country carers at heart

A cuppa and a chat, a lunch with friends or a day trip exploring South Australia’s Clare Valley.

These are just some of the simple pleasures not-for-profit organisation SA Country Carers in the state’s Lower Mid North is helping unpaid carers take the time to enjoy.

Supporting unpaid carers of family and friends with disabilities or of frail age is at the heart of the Clare-based community organisation that mainly services the Mid North, but is also visited by clients across the state.

It is estimated that 245,000 people in SA provide unpaid care to family and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, drug or alcohol abuse, or are frail.

Carers often provide physical and personal care and assistance including dressing, lifting out of bed and up from chairs, showering, feeding, providing transport to attend appointments, and managing medications.

On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June, SA Country Carers held free hand massages for carers. The services were provided local business Unique Beauty.

Almost half of carers provide up to 20 hours of care every week, while more than 30% provide over 40 hours a week – more than the equivalent of a full-time job.

SA Country Carers provides information, counselling and advocacy to carers who are often faced with physical and emotional fatigue from their caring role.

In 1996 the organisation was established by a group of locals who saw a need for greater carer support.

Now the community organisation supports more than 500 unpaid carers and has offices at Clare and Balaklava, as well as a short-term respite facility, Grevillea House, in Clare.

CEO Eve Rogers says support systems are crucial for regional areas.

“It’s important for carers to have a break and for them to know that there are others out there, that they’re not alone in the world,” she says.

“It’s important to have trusted services in regional communities.”

SA Country Carers volunteers are thanked at an annual luncheon in appreciation of their services.

The short-term residential respite facility, Grevillea House, allows unpaid carers to take a break, while knowing their loved ones are safe and being looked after.

Carer recipients stay at Grevillea House for a short period of time, while the carer takes time out for themselves, or attends day trips, retreats and activities put on by the organisation.

Sometimes the activities are attended by both the carer and care recipient to allow for bonding time.

This month Grevillea House will officially celebrate an overhaul of the facility, which Eve says needed a little TLC.

“In 2016 we renovated the kitchen using donations from loyal supporters and the local community, including the Rotary Club which was very generous with their funding,” she says.

“But once we did the kitchen we looked around and realised that everything else looked really old.”

The finished hallway at Grevillea House.

A refurbishment of the house began in August this year with a paint job, new floor coverings and window furnishings.

Grevillea House’s landlord, Helping Hand, also chipped in to the facility’s rejuvenation by replacing all light treatments and heaters at its own cost.

Eve says many care recipients, who can be as young as five or of frail age, end up calling Grevillea House their second home, with activities, facilities and support on hand to meet their needs.

SA Country Carers relies on the community for support, conducting a number of fundraising activities throughout the year.

Its group of volunteers are key to these fundraising efforts and boosting the organisation’s profile in the community.

SA Country Carers is one of five carer support organisations in the state.

Access to SA Country Carers services can be provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Program, NDIS, and My Aged Care.

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Young speech pathologist finds a voice for those who need it most

AnglicareSA speech pathologist Megan Longbottom, 25, is helping young South Aussies with disabilities find their voice.

Based in the social service provider’s Autism Services Stream in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, Megan helps youth with disabilities to communicate either with words, communication devices, or sign language.

She may only be halfway through her 20s but has already managed to cement herself in South Australia’s health and disability sector, becoming a senior clinician at AnglicareSA and changing young lives.

“We naturally learn as young children to just start talking, but with these little ones with a disability that quite often never happens,” says Megan, an I Choose SA ambassador for Health and the NDIS.

“So to watch a child communicate independently and knowing that I had a part in that is probably the most amazing feeling.”

Growing up in a small country town in the state’s south east, Megan says she never wanted to do anything else with her life except help children with speech difficulties to learn to communicate.

“That was my only option when I finished school, speech pathology was all I wanted to do,” she says.

After graduating from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology Megan went rural for one year, working at SA Health before securing her current role.

She’s been with AnglicareSA since October 2015, but it’s over the past several months she has noticed major differences in the health sector due to the ongoing roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

AnglicareSA speech pathologist Megan Longbottom is an I Choose SA ambassador for Health and the NDIS.

The NDIS is for people with disabilities aged under 65 years, providing them with a funding package tailored to their care and support needs.

It’s expected to support more than 32,000 people with disabilities in SA once fully implemented by July, 2018.

“The NDIS has made a huge impact for participants and service providers,” Megan says.

“Individuals who were previously unable to access any support due to waiting lists or funding barriers are now able to have more control over the services they access, and the NDIS gave that to them.”

Aside from working as an NDIS customer advocate and working with children in AnglicareSA’s Autism Service Programs, Megan co-ordinates the Outreach Autism Therapeutic Service (OATS).

OATS is a one-on-one program for children diagnosed with a development delay or disability and involves speech pathologists and occupational therapists visiting homes, schools or childcare centres to improve communication skills, social interaction, and fine and gross motor skills.

Megan says that while the majority of her young clients have autism, others have developmental delay disorders, intellectual disabilities and mental health issues.

Some of her clients are aged as young as two, while others are young adults in their 20s.

Megan with one of her clients Rosa Nguyen.

“We work with a number of children who are non-verbal, so they have previously had no means of communication,” Megan says.

“We support them in implementing a communication device, whether that be an iPad or sign language, to give them the ability to use their voice to request different things.

“I think all the people who have access to the NDIS have really benefited from the service, especially those who didn’t have a lot of support in place before.”

Megan says she enjoys working at an organisation that provides a holistic service to clients.

“AnglicareSA also offers a broad range of services whether that be from financial services, to children’s respite care or adult disability services,” she says.

“It means we can support families throughout all aspects of their life … that’s what I really love about AnglicareSA.”

The organisation has a 150-year history in SA, employing 1800 staff, 700 volunteers and supporting almost 58,000 South Australians each year through a range of programs including foster care, aged care and Aboriginal services.

Megan says like many service providers across the state, AnglicareSA will be expanding its portfolio to cater from demand the NDIS brings.

And this, she says, means more jobs for young graduates and health care professionals.

“I can see the prospects in SA (and) the employment sector, and Adelaide as a place to live is growing, changing and really meeting the needs of a young working population,” Megan says.

“I have no plans to ever leave SA … it’s where I grew up and it’s where my passion is.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Boost in business for disability housing provider SACARE

SACARE, a family-owned business providing housing and services for people with a disability, has increased its workforce by 30% in 12 months and increased turnover by $7.5m in the past two-and-a-half years.

The business’s general manager of client relations and service delivery, Chloe Kempe, says business will only continue to grow as the state benefits from the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) into 2018.

“It will continue to grow like that over coming years, particularly with the NDIS and the need for more support workers,” she says.

“We’re currently sitting at 411 employees across a mix of casual, full-time and part-time roles.”

“We’re currently holding recruitment days every fortnight when we’re interviewing up to 25 individuals for positions, and that’s support workers alone.”

SACARE has 411 employees, but this number is expected to increase as the business expands and the NDIS continues to roll out.

The $22 billion NDIS supports Australians with disabilities aged under 65 by giving them greater control over how their support funding is spent.

Participants receive a tailored funding package to help them complete everyday living activities and reach long-term goals.

Once fully implemented in SA from July 1, 2018, the NDIS will benefit more than 32,000 people with disabilities.

SACARE is one of many local businesses gearing up for the major social reform, which Chloe says will create much greater competition among a growing number of service providers.

She says it’s therefore important for the industry to maintain exceptional workforce and service delivery standards.

“The NDIS is really positive for the industry and it’s a great opportunity for us, but it creates a lot more competition because people see the financial benefit of entering the (disability) industry,” Chloe says.

“It’s a really good opportunity to define the services we’re good at and ensure that we maintain those services.

“We’ve opened up to a whole new marketplace, but the biggest challenge will be finding those remaining support workers who really share our values and expectations of service. I’m confident we can do that.”

SACARE is a long-standing SA family business helping people with disabilities to live independently.

SACARE was established in 1991 by Chloe’s parents, Sue and Andrew Marshall.

Both with a background in health, disability and mental health, the pair longed for vulnerable people to have improved services and higher quality care.

Their two other children, Lachie and Alex, are also involved in the business which has supported independent living options in North Adelaide, Hope Valley, Prospect, Magill and Kingswood.

Both the Magill and Kingswood homes are recent additions which Chloe says have attributed to workforce and revenue growth in the past year.

The Kingswood home is one of SACARE’s newest supported independent living facilities.

Earlier in 2018, SACARE began building its latest facility, The Gums, at Salisbury in Adelaide’s north.

It’s the business’s first entry into the rehabilitation space and will support people with spinal cord and brain injuries, helping them transition more easily back into their own homes or permanent SACARE housing.

It’s due for completion by November this year and is expected to create up to 155 ongoing jobs.

Chloe says SACARE’s clients are typically aged under 65 and have physical, neurological or intellectual disabilities or mental health issues.

She says that while the organisation doesn’t specialise in aged care, it doesn’t discriminate against age and continues to support clients as they age past 65.

She says the business also strives to keep younger people with disabilities out of nursing homes.

Many young Australians with disabilities and complex support needs are forced to live in aged care homes because they’re unable to find suitable accommodation.

The Barton House in North Adelaide is SACARE’s original facility, with a professional team supporting residents 24/7.

Chloe has been in her current role for 12 years after a career in public relations, marketing and event management within hotels.

She says job opportunities in the disability sector are diverse.

“I think that disability has always been a confronting sector … and people see it as doing those personal care duties like taking people to the toilet or showering them,” Chloe says.

“But it’s so much more than that. There are digital marketing positions, executive positions, diversional therapy positions, you have genuine career opportunities.

“It’s exciting to see young individuals embracing it.”

The rollout of the NDIS is expected to almost double SA’s disability sector workforce by 2019.

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

I have the best job in the world, says Cara CEO Liz Cohen

Liz Cohen realised her passion for supporting people with disabilities when teaching a young blind student in Australia’s Top End in the 1970s.

Something about that experience changed her perspective on the world and she steered her career towards the disability sector, and later set up her life in South Australia.

Now Liz, an I Choose SA for Industry ambassador, is the head of SA’s leading disability service provider, Cara.

She says the not-for-profit organisation, which is taking the lead on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll out in SA, has seen immense growth in the past five years.

“We will turn over $65m this (financial) year,” Liz says.

“We’re currently at about 900 staff so we’ll be celebrating when we hit that 1000.

“We’re a very large organisation not only in the disability sector but in South Australia … we provide services to 750 customers right across the state.”

Cara CEO and I Choose SA for Industry ambassador Liz Cohen with one of the organisation’s customers, Wayne.

Cara’s history in SA dates back to the 1950s and emerged out of the Spastic Centres of SA in the mid ’90s.

The organisation provides South Australians with disabilities with accommodation and respite services, as well as recreational activities such as camps, farm stays and other specialist services.

“Cara provides a variety of services to people right across SA with disabilities,” Liz says.

“We help people live in their own homes or in a group home, we provide respite for families so that they can have a break and their child can get out and experience different types of activities.

“We run camps for children with significant disabilities … we also run holiday options for young adults so that they can perhaps go off and do a wine tour just like their friends might be doing.

“We’re empowering people to live as independently as possible.”

Cara is also behind Quiet Hour, an Australian-first shopping experience for people with autism and sensory overload.

Frewville Foodland and The Good Guys at Mile End have taken part in the initiative by dimming the shop lights, turning music off and reducing the ‘beep’ volume on checkouts.

Cara provides services across SA, including regional parts such as the Yorke Peninsula and the South East.

In 2015 Liz was appointed as Cara’s CEO – a position she describes as “the best job in the world”.

“People with a disability in SA are living a richer life because of the work that Cara is doing and I feel like I can share a part of that achievement,” she says.

“We’re in a very good situation in SA, Cara is advocating for the lives of people with a disability, and with technology we’re connected to the eastern seaboard so there’s no reason why we can’t do business well in SA.”

Cara is one of the state’s service providers taking a lead on the NDIS rollout in SA.

The biggest social reform since Medicare in the ’70s, the NDIS is expected to support 460,000 Australians with a disability by giving them more control over how their support funding is spent.

The insurance scheme is for people with a disability aged under 65 and is expected to double the disability sector’s workforce by 2019.

It’s expected to benefit more than 32,000 South Australians once fully implemented from July, 2018.

Liz says SA is in a good position to take advantage of the NDIS, the biggest national social reform since Medicare.

Liz says Cara has been influential in how the NDIS will be rolled out in addition to the rules and processes involved in the scheme.

“SA is in a really good position to take advantage of the NDIS,” she says.

“With the size of the sector and the size of the state it’s really easy for us to be connected to the disability sector and share and learn from each other which is what we’ve been doing.

“We network really well with politicians and businesses leaders across SA (so) we’re able to influence policy, learn from business leaders and make sure that we’re really agile.”

Liz is originally from NSW and began her career as a teacher in the Northern Territory.

After 11 years in the NT and having two children, Liz and her husband moved to SA.

She began working for a number of not for profit organisations, progressing to a senior executive role at Autism SA before moving to Can:Do as an executive general manager.

Liz says SA has given her many opportunities to advance her career.

“I’ve really valued the ability to be able to learn and grow through my career and this will be our home,” she says.

“SA gives us everything we need in our lives.”

Visit I Choose SA for Industry to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

NDIS brings more choice, control and jobs for Bedford clients

The rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in South Australia will give clients more choice and control over their own lives, says disability organisation Bedford Group’s new CEO Maggie Dowling.

Maggie has only been in the top job for six weeks but says the longstanding SA organisation and some of its participants are already benefiting from the scheme as it continues to roll out in 2018.

“The NDIS is very much based on client choice, therefore people with a disability have a choice on what they would like to do with respect to making their lives better,” Maggie says.

“What it opens up for Bedford is that we offer more services that will help people reach their goals.

“We have the opportunity … to build people’s quality of their life with things like computer skills, cooking or social programs.”

Maggie says Bedford’s workforce is also expected to experience “absolute growth” as it prepares to help clients make the transition to the biggest social reform since Medicare.

She says Bedford has already bumped up its workforce in the past year.

Bedford Group CEO Maggie Dowling says the disability organisation is already seeing benefits from the rollout of the NDIS in SA.

“We have put at least 20 people on to help run the business in the last 12 months and we anticipate that to continue,” she says.

Bedford was established in SA 65 years ago and employs 340 direct staff at 19 sites across metropolitan and regional areas.

These staff run the business which also employs and supports about 1400 people with disabilities through employment, social programs, education and day-to-day activities.

Bedford also has expanding operations in Victoria and NSW.

Aside from providing programs for residential support and social activities, Bedford runs businesses that provide employment for people with disabilities.

“We offer employment in the manufacturing of timber products, flat packing furniture, garden maintenance and landscaping … we have major contracts with developers like AV Jennings, the City of Salisbury and the City of Onkaparinga,” Maggie says.

The NDIS was first rolled out to children with disabilities before it grew to include those aged 18–64 in July, 2017.

It is set to support more than 32,000 South Australians living with a disability and is expected to double the disability sector’s workforce to 12,550 by 2019.

Bedford supports people with disabilities in finding work, socialising, education and day-to-day activities.

NDIS participants will receive a funding package tailored to their needs, allowing them a greater choice of service providers.

“Part of the economic stimulus of the NDIS is related to workers like carers, planners, case managers and all other allied health services that will be driven by there being more money in the sector,” Maggie says.

“It’s early days, but we’re seeing families with plans now that have good amounts of funding to enable their loved ones to have greater choice (with service providers).”

Bedford primarily supports people with intellectual disabilities, such as Down syndrome, helping them to live and work independently as possible.

“If it weren’t for organisations like Bedford, people with disabilities would be staying home without meaningful work,” Maggie says.

“Having an equal right to life has a massive social and economic benefit, for sure.”

Maggie came to the not-for-profit and disability sector after a career spent in the private sector, and in state and local governments.

“SA is a great place to live and work,” she says.

“Although people say it’s small, sometimes that’s beneficial because when you work in the circles within SA you know each other quite well.

“I think that helps the collaboration aspect in making businesses work well.”

Visit the I Choose SA for Industry website to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.

Peak spinal cord injury body chief talks NDIS rollout

The Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of South Australia (PQSA) is set for further growth following the rollout of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme, according to the organisation’s chief Peter Stewart.

PQSA is the state’s peak community body for people with spinal cord injuries, employing more than 500 people across six offices in metropolitan and regional SA.

According to Peter, former charge nurse at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre’s spinal injuries rehabilitation unit, PQSA will continue to ride a wave of employment growth as the roll out of the NDIS in SA continues in 2018.

“Even prior to the NDIS, our workforce had increased by about 35%, so we’re currently sitting at about 540 employees,” he says.

“So across all of our services, we’ve increased our workforce, particularly with our in-home disability support (and) under the NDIS our workforce is going to continue to grow over the next couple of years.”

The PQSA team with CEO Peter Stewart, centre.

The NDIS is a universal insurance scheme for people with a disability aged under 65 years and is expected to double the disability sector’s workforce by 2019.

By the same year the NDIS is expected to support about 460,000 Australians living with a disability by giving them more control over how their support funding is spent.

Under the scheme, participants will receive an NDIS funding package tailored to their care and support needs, allowing them greater choice and control over which services they choose.

According to SA Health, the NDIS will benefit more than 32,000 people with a disability in SA once its fully implemented from July 1, 2018.

The NDIS is the biggest social reform that health professionals – including Peter – have seen since the introduction of Medicare in the 1970s.

Despite these advances to the health sector, PQSA’s objective remains the same – to support people with spinal cord injuries to live their potential.

PQSA runs a number of services including its newly introduced Occupational Therapist service.

In late 2017 it welcomed Push Thru, a peer support program providing people with spinal cord injuries in regional parts of the state to connect with likeminded others.

About 150 PQSA clients are currently transitioning to the NDIS.

Peter says it’s crucial that health support systems reach the regions to ensure people with disabilities don’t “fall through the cracks”.

“The risk of them (regional clients) having poorer health outcomes is much greater so we’re trying to ensure all our services are provided more effectively in regional areas,” he says.

“We’ve identified that peer networks just aren’t facilitated as effectively as they could be, so we’re trying to build that support network so people feel much more confident and resourced in how they can deal with day-to-day problems.”

PQSA also runs the technology hub at Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre, allowing patients to access the internet and connect with loved ones using voice recognition software, larger keyboards and other specialist equipment.

The organisation’s commercial division is HomeCare+ which delivers a range of disability support services with profits returned to help fund services offered by PQSA at no charge to the consumer.

PQSA has about 1000 clients, many of whom have either a traumatic spinal cord injury (from a vehicle accident, fall, sporting injury or recreational activity such as diving) or a non-traumatic injury (caused by a medical conditions such as a tumour, inflammatory condition or degenerative change).

Peter has worked for many years with people who have spinal cord injuries and says it’s challenging but rewarding to watch clients carry on to live fulfilling lives, and in some cases even win Paralympic gold medals.

Studying postgraduate nursing at Flinders University, he developed a passion for spinal injury rehabilitation early in his career, training and working at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and becoming charge nurse at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre’s  spinal injury unit.

PQSA CEO Peter Stewart has more than 20 years experience in SA’s health sector.

He has also taught at Flinders University and developed a spinal injury rehabilitation course that spread across Australia and to South East Asia.

Peter says SA’s investment in health infrastructure is to be commended.

“I think what we’ve created is an amazing health hub for SA and I think it should be applauded,” he says, referring to SA’s world-class new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

“There’s also a lot happening in the research space and particularly around rehabilitation and the use of assistive technology in SA, which is fantastic.


“It (the NDIS rollout) is happening relatively slowly in SA, but it’s ramping up each and every day.”

For more information on the NDIS in SA click here.

Visit the I Choose SA for Industry website to learn more stories about key industry leaders, why they’ve chosen SA as a base and how the state is enabling them to succeed.