Life Without Barriers – Industry Focus

Life Without Barriers is all about changing lives for the better in an inclusive way.

Community needs drive Life Without Barriers (LWB) to help improve living circumstances and quality of life for thousands of Australians every year.

LBW welcomes diversity. It actively fosters inclusion through the diversity of its people.

The organisation lives in a culture underpinned by respect, belonging and connection and employs, support and provides opportunities to current and prospective employees inclusive of disability, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, intersex status, relationship status, age, culture, ethnicity and faith.

Figures show that in Australia, one in five people live with a disability and almost 48,000 children and young people are unable to live with their parents for safety reasons.

Statistics also show 15% of people in Australia are aged over 65 (that is more than 3.4 million people) and a staggering 20% of Australians will suffer some form of a mental illness within a 12 month period.

LWB chief executive Claire Robbs said the organisation’s goals and purpose are clear: To strive to contribute to a world where each person can live a life free of barriers that prevent them from realising their rights and opportunities.

“For 25 years we have challenged the traditional ways of doing things, something forged by our founders – courageous families not willing to accept that any person should be denied opportunity,” she said.

“People experiencing obstacles have a right to expect our collective intelligence and thoughtfulness as a community so they can experience a sense of fulfilment and never-ending potential.”

Recently, LWB’s executive lead disability engagement officer Chris Chippendale highlighted the opportunities available to, and challenges experienced by, people with disability currently employed, or wanting to be employed, within the NDIS workforce to the Federal Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS workforce inquiry.

Mr. Chippendale told the inquiry that LWB had a long-standing commitment to providing and promoting jobs and careers for people with disability.

“While we still have a lot of work to do, we wanted to share our experience in our efforts to employ more people with disability so that the NDIA (National Disability Insurance Agency) together with service providers can lead a sector wide effort to employ people with disability into frontline roles,” he said.

Mr. Chippendale said it is imperative that the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), people with disability and service providers work together to ensure that people with disability can harness the employment opportunities that the NDIS is set to provide over coming years, particularly in the essential workforce.

LWB offers a variety of services across a vast spectrum, from foster care and mental health support to aged care and help for the homeless.

Here’s a brief taste of their many services:

Foster care: When it comes to fostering, no two children or families are the same. Some children may need foster care for a few nights, while others will need a more permanent home. That is why we offer a range of placement types to meet the unique needs of children in care.

These include:

  • Respite
  • Emergency or Crisis
  • Short to Medium Term
  • Long Term
  • Kinship
  • Guardianship
  • Foster to Adoption

Disability support: When it comes to choosing the disability supports participants need, it’s their life and their choice. LWB is there to support every participants’ decision, so they can live life the way they want to.

Services include:

  • Support coordination
  • Get the most out of your NDIS plan and achieve your goals
  • Supported independent living
  • Live more independently, while receiving the supports you need
  • Daily living skills
  • Support at home and in your local community

Aged care services: The Australian Government subsidies a range of aged care services in Australia through a variety of different programs. These include Emergency Aged Care ServicesCommonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)Home Care Packages, and Veterans Home Care.

LWB offers a variation of the below services using these packages as well as fee for service in locations all across Australia:

  • Daily living and life tasks: Encouraging you towards greater independence and confidence
  • Companionship, community and social support: Supporting you to get out and about to do the things you enjoy
  • Personal care and mobile services: Assisting with your personal comfort, security and wellbeing
  • Therapeutic and clinical care: Supporting and connecting you with allied health and nursing care
  • Cleaning and household tasks: Helping you keep your home clean and comfortable
  • Home modifications, maintenance and handyman: Improving accessibility around your home for your safety and independence
  • Garden maintenance and modifications: Providing a helping hand around the garden for tasks big and small
  • Respite care: Respite can give carers a break to do everyday activities and attend appointments, with peace of mind that their loved one is being cared for

LWB services also extend to:

  1. Child, youth and families
  2. Mental health
  3. Refugees and asylum seekers
  4. Housing and homelessness
  5. Alcohol and other drugs
  6. Domestic violence

Ms. Robbs says the organisation believes its role as an experienced and welcoming organisation is to create the platform for positive relationships to thrive, with individuals in need of support services, with families, carers communities, government and the corporate sector.

“We believe what unites us are the rights we have and should all enjoy as human beings,” she said.

“We each expect to have the freedom to pursue what we want from our lives without having to relentlessly fight for it.”

“Yet this opportunity to live freely, without significant barriers, is not afforded to all Australians.”

“With imagination, respect, courage and responsiveness as our compass in all relationships, we never forget the value of trust placed in us to provide reliable support that exceeds expectations.”

“We will continue to be guided by our values long into the future.”

Since opening its doors in 1995, LWB has grown from a small team in Newcastle, supporting a handful of clients living with a disability, to a national organisation with more than 8000 employees, carers and volunteers, providing services to more than 16,000 clients.

It has offices in every state and territory in Australia, as well as operations in New Zealand, supporting children needing out-of-home care, people living with mental health, refugees and asylum seekers, homeless people, and young people in the justice system.

To find out more about the wonderful work done at Life Without Barriers, click here.

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