Disability Equipment Grant recipient Robert McKenzie shared his experiences with Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson today when he visited the Independent Living Centre WA (ILC) to present a $2.4 million Lotterywest certificate for the continuation of the grants program.
Robert, 75 (pictured centre) who has paraplegia, has been driving with modified driving controls for nearly 50 years. However many years of transferring from his wheelchair into his car has put stress on his arms and shoulders, meaning he was no longer able to safely transfer himself into and out of his car.
Thanks to a Disability Equipment Grant Robert was able to access an occupational therapy driver assessment with the ILC to identify the most suitable vehicle modifications to enable him to enter his van, dock his wheelchair and drive from his wheelchair, including self-drive modifications.
The vehicle modifications made since have meant Robert can now drive directly from his wheelchair, rather than having to transfer from his wheelchair into the car.
In acknowledging Minister Dawson for the grants presentation, ILC Chief Executive Officer Steve Glew said assistive equipment and technology can help a person to maintain their independence so these grants have a significant impact on the quality of people’s lives.
“Driving is such an important part of Robert’s independence. This grant has helped towards enabling Robert to return to driving, access the community and importantly to continue to do the things in life that he enjoys.
“This is what the Disability Equipment Grant program is all about,” said Mr Glew.
Minister Dawson also presented a $2.3 million Lotterywest certificate towards a refurbishment of The Niche building, which houses the ILC, Neurological Council of WA (NCWA) and Cystic Fibrosis WA.
The Niche building organisations provide valuable services that are accessed by a wide range of Western Australians, including those living with a disability, chronic health and neurological conditions, the frail aged and their carers.
The NCWA coordinates the Centre for Neurological Support, a well recognised information and support hub which provides accommodation for 13 neurological organisations and supports concepts of collaboration and integration.
The activities and services provided in the building include direct client activity for support advice and guidance; corporate services; customer service facilities; assistive technology and home modifications display areas; facilities for conferences, training and events; ICT hubs and organisational resource areas; and telehealth and videoconferencing facilities.
Mr Glew said the refurbishment aims to benefit the large number of visitors who use the services provided from The Niche building as well as the staff who provide these services.
“Visitors will experience a contemporary feel to the new facilities. Technology will be incorporated and upgraded to meet consumer’s needs, the ILC equipment display area will be modernized, and the consult space will better meet privacy requirements.
“In addition the use of space will be improved to increase staff accommodation and meet the needs of the growing mobile workforce,” said Mr Glew.
“I would like to thank Lotterywest for supporting both the grants program and the refurbishment project, and ultimately for making a difference to the lives of many Western Australians with disability.”
About the Disability Equipment Grant program
The DEG program aims to assist Western Australians with disability to obtain specific items of equipment they cannot afford and that are unavailable through other funding.
The ILC has administered the DEG program since 2003 and over that period it has helped thousands of people with disability to obtain vehicle modifications, specialized assistive technology and other essential independence equipment.
During 2016-17 more than 740 grants were provided to assist Western Australians with a disability to obtain equipment through the DEG program.
More information about the DEG program can be found at www.ilc.com.au
About The Niche building organisations
The Independent Living Centre WA’s vision is for people to reach their goals to live independent and full lives through easy access to community allied health services, the right assistive technology and home modification solutions. Find out more at www.ilc.com.au
The Neurological Council of WA’s vision is providing leadership in services and support for people with a neurological condition in Western Australia. They work in collaboration with the many tenant groups in the Centre for Neurological Support, including Meningitis, Muscular Dystrophy WA, Stroke Foundation, LADS, Neurofibromatosis, ME/Chronic Fatigue, AACBT, MNDWA, Parkinsons WA, Epilepsy Association WA and Huntingtons WA. Find out more at www.ncwa.com.au
Cystic Fibrosis WA’s vision is ‘Lives Unaffected by CF’, where every person born with CF will be able to reach their full potential, unencumbered by the disease. Every day we strive a little closer to achieving that vision. Find out more at www.cfwa.org.au