"I didn't know I could stand up for myself but since attending the Our Voice SA AGM and coming to the training, I now know that I have a voice - AND I CAN USE IT!"
"Our Voice is a team of people who get together to hear stories from other people who’ve got the same kind of disabilities. We’ve being going for 12 years. We don’t answer to anybody. That’s the best part about it. I’m chair of the committee. I make sure the meeting runs properly and make sure all the issues get done. Our Voice means to me, to help other people with the same kind of problems as I have. If you’ve got intellectual disability people don’t want to listen to you. To me, I’m like their mouth piece. A lot of people are scared to speak up. For so long, people teach us, when you’ve got a disability, you never have rights. Now we’ve got rights like anybody else has."
"The group has helped and is good because we receive important information to operate our own skills. There is more interaction through participating in meetings but most importantly our peer connector is a fellow ‘consumer’ and we are all on an even level. We have only been meeting a little while and I have gotten three big things from the meetings. The first was that our peer connector taught me to ask questions of my service providers. The second was being able to negotiate a shorter time for notifying the service of my not being able to go out for the day due to my mental health. I now only have to give 24 hours’ notice which is much better. I got this from our second meeting. The third big thing was that our peer connector went away and got information for me about how to get my statements from my service provider or the NDIS. I cannot use a computer or read very well and did not know how to get the information I wanted and our peer connector got the information. He put it into easier language for me and explained it and I went away and got what I wanted myself. Now I know where my NDIS money is being spent."
"The group is good to learn about each other and reflect about learning as well as it is good information."
Some of the Hunter group spoke about what the Peer Support group means to them
"Our facilitator is fantastic and we can rely on her to share good information about the NDIS, and support people in a very positive way."
"There’s this magic that happens when someone comes with a problem that they don’t know how to solve, and someone in the group says ‘oh, don’t worry, I had to deal with that last week, this is what I did’ and suddenly things that seemed impossible, become possible."
"Then that person comes back next week and shares what happened, and how they also took something else in their life on, like joining a gym, because they had been inspired by someone else’s story. People take up all sorts of new opportunities that they didn’t know existed."
"Advice from a peer group is practical, empathetic and authentic. There is no conflict of interest, no bias or business interest, and we have a lot of laughs along the way."
Some of the Team Up Peer group members
"Peer support is powerful and is a really important informal support for people with disability"
"My confidence has increased so much since attending a peer group"
"A peer group is a great place to set an example for others- by showing others you are able to do something sets a great example and instills others with confidence"
"The peer movement is very important because we can get together to share information about our lives. We will build our capacity to deliver workshops, and deliver a big open workshop to the community"
"The meetings have been very informative! Thank you for running these meetings. Much appreciated as I would have been completely lost without this help "
said a parent member
"At the point that I made contact with Transmen of WA, I was suicidal and attempting to overdose. My gender incongruence was debilitating, every day felt like a chore and every time I woke up I wish I had not. If it were not for Transmen of WA, I would not be here. My son would have lost a parent, my mother would have lost a child, my sisters would have lost me. I have gained social and personal independence from the connections made here. I have a life now. I have my life now. I am living my most authentic self, a man, strong, content and proud."
A member of TransFolk of WA
"My name is Libby. My goals are to meet new people and become a mentor because I want to help people who might need a hand, who might be afraid. It's always been my passion, I like helping people.
I couldn't be a mentor a year ago, but now I know I can because I've been trained through a peer group (Our Voice). I've had someone say, "Can you be my mentor?" That made me feel real good inside. It's so awesome!
Our Voice helped me to grow. It's helped me do things that I didn't think I could do a year ago, like I didn't think I could stand up for myself. But coming to Our Voice, yes I can stand up for myself. And I can help people who can't stand up for themselves.
If I could talk to myself a year ago, I would say "Go for it Libby. You can do it.""
"I really enjoy our Peer support group"
"We understand each other and I love it"
Members of the Intellectual Disability Rights Service peer support group
"If it wasn’t for the group I’d live in a hermit shell. Staying inside with all my doors and windows locked. The group all have a disability, and we can communicate as a group and accept each other’s disability, not be so judgemental, negative and all that. We step each other through our disabilities"
Peer Network member, NSW
"The Peer 2 Peer network has benefited me and my family immensely. I got a much better understanding of the NDIS through the monthly meetings. I was supported by the peer network when I came up against a few issues with providers and was given great advice on what to do to resolve issues in a positive way. I was encouraged and supported to self-manage my daughter’s funding which is working out very well and benefiting my daughter greatly. I am very grateful that a network like this exists and [I] couldn't have done this journey without them."
Peer 2 Peer network member
"The Peer 2 Peer Network has provided me with valuable support at a time when I felt great uncertainty and vulnerability. By sharing our knowledge and experiences of the NDIA/NDIS process specifically, and other matters generally, we have been able to feel more in control and less bewildered; more confident about making the best decisions for our family member. It is extremely rewarding to be able to give support when needed, and very comforting to have such support, and to know we are not alone."
Peer 2 Peer network member
"A local support group in Kallangur is just another exciting way to bring people with disability together to fill in the tapestry of support for people with disability in the area. I would expect us to have lively meetings where people can have their voice heard and ensure that there is 'nothing about us, without us"
A QDN Board Member
"With the NDIS coming groups like these will become more important. I am proud to be part of the formation of this local support group."
Another new member also shared that "he is looking forward to growing the group and sharing information."
Members of the Fitzgibbon Local Support Group
"If I hadn’t had the support of the Peer Action Group I wouldn’t be living this life. I have more control of my life. I am now able to look after my beloved dog and take care of my fitness."
Said a member of a peer action group
"Although the group was small there was a lot of information sharing. One parent disclosed that she is dyslexic and was feeling overwhelmed to think she will need to navigate the NDIS with limited reading and writing skills. Although this parent had attended all other sessions, she had only hinted at limited computer skills in the past. I think because it was a session which had smaller numbers, she felt more comfortable to disclose to the group.
Another parent has teamed up with her to help her navigate the NDIS. The peer support benefits of this group are evident when scenarios like this arise and the parents are able to lean on each other outside of the sessions for support."
A member of a new regional support group in Victoria
"Today was the first Tweed Heads group for the Cafe Our Way. Not only was I proud to be yarning about the NDIS to members of my local community, I was also able to host the event at the newly opened #CrackedBeans coffee van and open air cafe. There was lots of community support in this more comfortable setting that made everyone feel at ease, the relaxed vibe made talking about the NDIS easy for people with mental health and grandparents to understand information about assistance for their disabled grandkids.
The information shared today was valuable for members as they had concerns about support needs and would they be able to get back to their homes after a social outing. Other important needs were mobility aids to get connected directly into community and visit grave sites unable to be accessed without the mobility aid.
All the group are excited to come again to the safe place created for the Tweed Cafe Our Way."
A member of the First Peoples Disability Network initiative