Home·Why community participation is important for people living with a disability

Why community participation is important for people living with a disability

People living with a disability are diverse – there are different types of disability and severity, people come from all demographic and socioeconomic groups, and have varying needs for assistance.

A man with a disability playing a guitar and woman playing the drums next to him

Some people living with a disability can be easier to identify, as they can use mobility aids such as a wheelchair. Others who may be living with an ‘invisible’ disability – such as chronic pain, psychosocial or developmental disability – may be harder to identify.

With almost 20 per cent of Australians living with a disability, we’re passionate about community participation, diversity and inclusion at Claro and wanted to explain some of the reasons why it’s vital for the community and society more broadly.

Why is community participation important?

A Productivity Commission report found there were relatively low levels of community participation and inclusion for people living with a disability in Australia, and recommended this improve for the following reasons:

  • Increased community participation can lead to improved health, wellbeing and quality of life outcomes for people living with a disability and their carers.
  • It can also decrease care and support costs in the long-term for people living with mild-to-moderate disability.

Some examples include:

  • If people living with a disability become more confident to use accessible public or community transport, they will be able to shop for themselves and have less need to use taxis and taxi vouchers.
  • Improved community participations for people living with a disability and their carers means they’re more likely to participate in the workforce.
  • The social capital of a community improves, as more people are engaged in their community, diversity is enhanced, and it creates better networks among people.

And this is why we’re passionate about community participation for people living with a disability – it is not only the right thing to do, it’s also a basic human right and it’s something we advocate for with our clients.

For example, one of our valued clients Carl recently moved into his new home in the heart of West Footscray. We worked with the local community and the owners’ corporation to ensure all residents were aware the building also had Specialist Disability Accommodation, and answer any questions they may have about people living with a disability.

We’ve found some members of our community have never interacted with a person living with a disability, so we made sure to answer any questions they had to ensure the building was an inclusive environment for all.

For Carl, moving into a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of West Footscray was exciting as it was his very first home.

“Having a whole apartment to myself, when I came from shared accommodation was very exciting. I think I will have more independence and privacy,” says Carl.

We’re proud to have connected Carl to his new home, and working with others to ensure community participation and inclusion.

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