Life can be a struggle for everyone but when you, a friend or family member has additional needs and challenges, that struggle can quickly become overwhelming. To contend with this, in the late 1970’s a group of Northern Beaches parents and volunteers got together and started to care for each other’s children, all of whom had disabilities and were not easily able to access other avenues of support.
In 1982, the ‘Manly Warringah Interchange’ was founded. In 1991, this became the NBI (Northern Beaches Interchange), a grass-roots organisation committed to the people of the Northern Beaches and surrounding suburbs. In 2017, the NBI integrated with Ability Options, a NSW state-wide organisation that provides support for people who need assistance to achieve their aspirations and inclusion in the community.
From their Brookvale hub, Ability Options provides a huge array of life-enhancing services; accommodation, case management, community activities and support, employment, access to NDIS and individualised funding services, after school programs, respite, supported living, and transition to work. The Ability Options team gave the Tawny an overview on some group activities for kids and carers, all designed to encourage making new friendships and forming bonds within the community.
The Kookaburra Playgroup is an active and fun playgroup for children 0-5yrs, held 10am to 12pm fortnightly on a Monday during school term at the Cromer Community Centre. Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers engage in creative and imaginative play, social sharing, music and movement. It’s also a great place for parents and carers to relax a moment and recharge while their kookaburra enjoys some fun and education without them. More info, head here: www.nbi.org.au/kookaburra-playgroup
The Adventurers Group for kids 5-11years, and The Crusaders Group for 12-17year olds. These groups offer day trips and holiday activities where the youngsters explore the great outdoors in idyllic local regions, do arts, crafts, acting, filming and creative workshops, spend time with Fire and Rescue NSW to see firsthand the ins and outs of frontline work, and a whole host of other activities spending time in the community, engaged in all manner of interactive, fun and educational endeavours. For more info, head to www.nbi.org.au/activities-holiday/
When it’s not school holidays, these group activities are still available every Saturday; KidsActive for 5-11year olds, JusTeens for kids aged 12-17years. Covid-19 restrictions prevent planning too far ahead, so the best way to stay up to date, email: email@example.com and take advantage of these awesome group activities.
Ability Options also run Out n Active Friday to Sunday Activities for those 18+ years to meet up for age-appropriate activities, whether it be exploring Manly Dam or Narrabeen Lakes, going for pancakes, movie nights or fancy dress parties, all sorts of activities to facilitate fun, friendship and active engagement in the community. The best way to stay up to date and be part of the activities is to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, there are 2.65million carers across Australia and, as the saying goes, who cares for the carers? The Carers Café does, a dedicated place for carers and parents of someone living with a disability to meet, enjoy a coffee, share experiences and form friendships, to simply have a moment without responsibility and give the batteries a much-needed recharge. Held at the Cromer Community Centre once a month on Friday from 9:30-11:30am, the Carers Café can make all the difference for those working so hard, essentially nonstop, who thoroughly deserve some care themselves.
Ability Options offer many services to assist everyone to live their best life.