Ability Links to cease local operations after funding cut

Ability Links NSW Linker Wendy Beetson has been a familiar face in Cobar for a number of years. The State Government funded Ability Links service is to cease operations at the end of the month with Ability Links participants to soon begin transitioning to the NDIS Social Futures’ Local Area Coordination (LAC) team. ▪ File photo

Ability Links NSW, a State Government-funded service which has been used by a number of Cobar families, will cease operations at the end of the month.

As part of a plan to streamline linking services nationally, Ability Links will no longer be funded and will transition into the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) component of NDIS Local Area Coordination (LAC).

Delivered over the past five years by LiveBetter Community Services, Ability Links NSW has helped countless regional Australians with disabilities to achieve their goals and stay connected to their communities.

Orana Far West Linker Wendy Beetson, who is based in Nyngan, has become a familiar face in Cobar having helped local families for a number of years to connect with their community.

As part of her role, Mrs Beetson was able to assist people applying for the NDIS by helping to support, explain and guide them through the process.

As a Linker she provided advocacy, helped to link people to services and the community and assisted with breaking down numerous barriers that people with a disability can face.

“Linkers also help communities including businesses and organisations to be more inclusive of people with a disability, raise awareness of the importance of accessibility and inclusion of people with a disability in all mainstream activities including employment, education and social participation,” Mrs Beetson said.

One of Mrs Beetson’s most recent projects in the Cobar community has been ‘Access at a Glance’ where Mrs Beetson worked with local business people to raise awareness and help make their businesses more accessible for people with disabilities.

LiveBetter Team Leader Cassie Gardner said it would be an emotional farewell for the Ability Links NSW team who have helped many participants throughout regional NSW.

“Ability Links has been an outstanding program that has brought significant benefits to thousands of people with disabilities and other marginalised communities in this state,” Ms Gardner said.

Ability Links NSW participants will transition to the NDIS Social Futures’ Local Area Coordination (LAC) team by the end of August.