Independence Ulladulla Inc- $22,010 – Shared community resources, training and strategy

IRCF Priority: Systems and Structures

Roadmap Connection: Financial Systems

Enable Independence Ulladulla to secure their tenancy and operations, modernise their operating systems and update their training to capitalise on the opportunity to provide a much needed School Leavers Employments Support program and expand their community engagement offering to non-residents in their very underserviced community.

Independence Ulladulla Inc. were established in 1982 to provide residential services to people with disability within the area. They currently operate a group home and in 2018 added two shopfronts to operate their day programs from. They have 2 management staff and 10 case workers that report to a 7 member engaged, but aging management committee. Before COVID and the bushfires, they were seeking to expand their team with 2 new part time team leaders to expand their offering in the areas of Supported Employment and Community Engagement which is very underserviced in the Ulladulla region. They are well networked with the Ulladulla and Batemans Bay public schools for whom they operate the school uniform shops for as part of their existing program of supported employment for their residents. They work in collaboration with other organisations including The Department of Education, Budawang School, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), The Disability Trust, The National Quality and Safeguards Commission, Department of Housing, NSW Health, Families and other stakeholders including Allied Health, General Practitioners, Behavioural Practitioners.

There is a very low level of supply of disability services in the area since Life Without Barriers ceased operations in the area and a growing demand for post-school residential housing which will not be able to be met within the community unless Independence Ulladulla expands its operations. The alternative supported program in the area provides sub-standard opportunities for disabled members of the community to meaningfully participate in the community with dignity. All day programs have been majorly disrupted by COVID restrictions with NDIS payments for activities suspended, the urgent need to develop unfunded alternatives and the ongoing issue of non-residential participants who are increasingly isolated and disconnected from the community. The operating systems of the organisation have had to be urgently upgraded to ensure continuity in a cloud based environment. There is an urgent need to further streamline operating systems to service these new programs, develop policies and procedures for new services and operating environments, better communicate those offerings to the community and train front line staff in these systems and how to deliver these new business services- including for under 18’s for the first time. There is also a need to secure the tenancy of the shopfronts to deliver the day-programs and upgrade their facilities to accommodate wheelchair clients who need the bathrooms to be adapted with lift, hoist and adult change table facilities. All during the COVID period where usual NDIS revenues have been suspended or disrupted.

With this detailed year-long program of digital transformation and the expansion of their service delivery capability, Independence Ulladulla will be able to offer it’s program of activities to non-residential clients and youth transitioning from school in a sustainable manner.