Our Vice President is championing people with disability

Karen Wynn joined the Myhorizon Board in 2019, playing an active role as Director as well as contributing to our Myhorizon community through active participation on the Risk Committee. We are thrilled to now welcome her as the new Vice President of Myhorizon’s Board.

Karen brings to the Board, and to the wider Myhorizon community, a valuable perspective on disability through her own personal lived experience, having been diagnosed with juvenile onset rheumatoid arthritis as a young adolescent and still living with chronic pain as an adult.

This has given Karen a direct insight into the needs and challenges of individuals with disabilities and a deep-rooted passion to promote access, equality inclusion for all in the workplace.

In addition to the role of Vice President, Karen is also a Senior Executive at RACQ and the Chair for RACQ’s EnAble Group – RACQ’s first Disability Inclusion Employee Reference Group which is paving the way for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as the wider community.

“Something that often happens with people with disability is a feeling of needing to mask, or hide their disability, especially in the workplace,” said Karen.

“I believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce and contribute their unique skills and perspectives.”

Karen’s vision aligns with the values and goals of Myhorizon’s Employment & Training Division, which supports more than 500 individuals with disabilities in their search for meaningful employment prospects.

“The Myhorizon Employment and Training team do amazing work each and every day to ensure people with disabilities have access to fulfilling employment opportunities in inclusive workplaces,” said Karen.

“As Myhorizon’s Vice President, I am excited about playing a role in creating a future where disability is normalised and people with disability have access to safe and inclusive employment.”

Workplace inclusion delivering mutual benefits

Gaining employment has been a positive change for Myhorizon Participant Brett Karklis, thanks to an inclusive and diverse workplace.

Brett has achieved his goal of finding part time sustainable employment in his local island community with Straddie Brewing Co on North Stradbroke Island, empowering him to push past his barriers.

Working at the Brewery has turned Brett’s life around where he is now learning new skills, making new connections, and earning a living – all important factors to being empowered and improving wellbeing.

Co-owner of Straddie Brewing Co, Kylie Taylor has welcomed Brett onto her staff and values his contribution to the team, “Brett is a diligent worker and takes immense pride in both his work and our venue. He is always punctual and reliable.” Said Kylie.

“When Brett first started with us, it was at a time where we really needed someone at short notice to step in and help clean and prepare our newly opened restaurant and bar at Dunwich. Brett was a trooper and got stuck in with me each day, five days a week.”

As an inclusive and diverse employer, Kylie have seen first-hand the many benefits that hiring someone with disability can bring to a workplace such as reliability, loyalty, and high productivity.

Brett’s Employment Coordinator at Myhorizon, Anne Blakeway, has been the driving force behind matching Brett up with the right employer and supporting him weekly to help manage his workplace relationships and offering him encouragement.

“It’s really rewarding to see inclusive employers like Straddie Brewing Co giving Participants like Brett an opportunity and supporting and accommodating his needs in their workplace. It’s a great example of how diversity in the workplace can deliver great benefits for both employers and employees with a disability.” Said Anne.

Learn more about our Employment and Training services.

Building staff skills to support our Participants

At Myhorizon we pride ourselves on ensuring all our staff are well trained in order to provide excellent support to all participants, focusing on their individual needs.

Recently we have concentrated on upskilling our staff in the Lifestyle division, ensuring they are competent in understanding the specific needs of participants in the areas of Ventilation, Enteral Feed and Epilepsy.

For all training requirements there are two parts the staff complete. They first attend a workshop in their specific area of support. Our lovely RN Kyra then meets with each staff member to ensure they understand each participant’s individual specific needs and are competent in providing the correct support for that participant.

These training initiatives have been a great way to explore and build on each staff members’ skills so they are able to perform to the best of their abilities. Thanks to great RNs like Kyra, staff now have the best understanding possible of the specific needs of participants.

In the Spotlight – Winter 2023

It has been a decade since the NDIS has been in place in Australia, and in that time has faced considerable criticism from both Participants and service providers.

As a result, the government has conducted an independent review of the Scheme which has brought to light some ongoing issues including:

* long delays in making decisions

* unexplained changes to plans

* lots of red tape

* confusing and complicated information and processes

* too many changes made too quickly

* lack of help to work your way through the scheme

* not enough focus on what needs to be done to make sure people with disability have what they need to be independent and live a good life.

Whilst promoting “choice and control” for Participants, the NDIS scheme has been widely criticised for its inconsistent rules and controls for registered providers and unregulated providers including private support workers.

Unfortunately, very few checks are currently in place for unregulated providers and private workers, so it is not surprising that the quality of care, safety of Participants, and rorting of the NDIS scheme has been called into question.

Minister Shorten has indicated that the NDIS system will as a result undergo a major shakeup and many changes are expected to be announced before the review reports back in October this year.

At Myhorizon, we take the protection of our Participants’ rights very seriously. As a registered provider, we are committed to advocating for our Participants and doing what we always do – going above and beyond to provide the highest quality services and care.

We are passionate about ensuring that our Participants receive the best possible care and support.

A message from Joe – Spring 2022

Joe GamblinWelcome to the Spring Edition of our Community News.

Given the roller coaster ride we have all been on over these past couple of years, never before has our theme of “with you for you” been so relevant for our clients and participants that we serve.

Recently we surveyed participants who access our lifestyle, accommodation, recreation programs and support coordination services with overwhelming positive satisfaction results being recorded.

This feedback confirmed the important role that Myhorizon plays in so many lives, a role that is far more than delivering services for which we are funded. Personal satisfaction and other aspects of our service delivery across every division of the organisation reaffirmed confidence in our ability to meet and exceed expectations especially during some very tough times.

Myhorizon has continued to deliver responsive, individualised programs tailored to meet the needs of our service users, with much of the feedback received centred around the positive impact that our staff have on the lives of individuals.

As a registered service provider we are rigorously and independently audited against the various standards including the NDIS Practice Standards and the National Disability Service Standards with positive results recorded during not only this past year but every year.

Myhorizon as a not-for-profit organisation has not just been another service provider in the crowd but has proudly maintained its focus on delivering a quality service by ”uplifting individual lives by creating connected communities”.

Spring brings transformation, new beginnings and a positive outlook as we leave the challenges of the past behind. There will be many new opportunities emerge and we will continue to embrace a strong and purposeful future for people with disabilities.

I trust you will enjoy reading our latest Community News.

Joe Gamblin,

Emily & Beverley – A perfect pairing

When transitioning into Supported Independent Living (SIL), Myhorizon believes that the compatibility matching process is the highest of priority. We want our participants to live with people they feel safe and comfortable with.

We believe that the success of a SIL home is dependent on appropriately matching participants based on age, gender, interest, location and support needs.

For participants Emily and Beverley, their 2022 transition to a Myhorizon Supported Independent Living home in Burbank has been a major one. Beverley has relocated all the way from Melbourne and Emily from the Gold Coast, both to be closer to their families.

Despite the challenges that comes with moving in with a new housemate in a new community, Beverley with her bright, articulate, and bubbly personality is pairing very well with Emily’s soft, gentle and caring traits, proving a successful compatibility match so far.

“I love the house and being close to my family. I get on really well with my housemate.” Says Beverley, who is now also preparing to welcome a third resident into her home with Emily.

Both ladies are working towards their goals to increase their independence in the home and build their daily living skills such as cooking and shared household chores.

A new career path for Jess

We all know that life doesn’t always go to plan, and these last few years have definitely been a rollercoaster for many people.

For Myhorizon participant Jess, the last few years have been an uncertain and anxious time in her life when her cake decorating business didn’t survive the pandemic, and she was feeling unsure and worried about her next steps.

After being referred to Myhorizon for a DES Program, Jess met with a Myhorizon Employment Coordinator looking for some support for her next career move.

“From the moment I walked into Myhorizon, I was made to feel safe, valued and a real person, not just a number.” Said Jess. “The staff at Myhorizon listened to me and my idea of getting back into the childcare industry and together we formed a plan to achieve my goals.”

With this support, Jess has been working at Edge Early Learning Centre in South Brisbane for the past year, and in that time has also gained the confidence to travel overseas on a holiday and recently sign up to do further study to build on her skills and eventually become a Group Leader.

“Without the weekly ongoing support, encouragement, and genuine willingness to help me achieve my goals from Myhorizon, I know I would not have made it this far so soon. I not only have a job but I have a career with real progression opportunities.” Said Jess.

“If you want to work and need that extra support to do it like I do, I recommend speaking to the staff at Myhorizon Employment and Training. They’re on your employment journey “with you, for you”, all the way just like their logo and moto on the wall states.” Said Jess.

Myhorizon’s Mt Gravatt site manager, Lisa Huntly, has seen first-hand the display of strength and resilience from Jess,

“It has been a long journey for Jess with many obstacles, but through it all she has maintained a positive can-do attitude. Supporting Jess to achieve her goals has been a pleasure for me and I’m so proud of how far she has come. I know Jess has more great things ahead in her future and I’m honoured to be a part of her employment pathway.” Said Lisa.


Alicia & Jacinta lend a helping hand

There are many benefits to volunteering in your local community, and for our Wynnum Lifestyle participants, Alicia and Jacinta, they love lending a helping hand to those that need it most by volunteering at the Redlands Community Centre in Capalaba.

Alicia and Jacinta kindly volunteer their time every Friday at the Centre, where they pack emergency relief packages full of basic meal necessities, and also restock shelves and complete a variety of other tasks.

These Emergency Relief Packages are just one way the Redlands Community Centre provides support to those that need it most. They also provide a number of valuable ‘one-stop-shop’ community focused services which assist people experiencing a crisis in a way that maintains dignity and encourages self-reliance.

Not only have Alicia and Jacinta contributed to a worthy community cause, but together they have developed excellent team work skills, expanded their social group and learnt various skills they can utilise in day to day life.

“It’s fun packing bags and I like talking to all the staff members there” says Alicia.

For more information on the many ways you can volunteer with the Redlands Community Centre, visit: redlandcommunitycentre.org

A message from Joe – Winter 2022

Joe GamblinWe never know what is around the corner. The lingering impact of COVID, the recent change in government, economic insecurity and cost of living increases coupled with the extraordinary world events unfolding in Ukraine all contribute to a period of uncertainty, high stress levels and increased mental health concerns. COVID has brought many challenges with wide disruption of services.

Fortunately, Myhorizon has been proactive in ensuring the safety of our Participants by following COVID safe measures including the compulsory vaccination of all staff. Disruption has been kept to a bare minimum where at all possible as the virus has spread throughout the community.

On top of all of these issues there has been enormous stress as a result of the constantly changing NDIS. In the lead up to the Australian Government election there was a groundswell of criticism demanding that the NDIS be remodelled to reflect its original intention.

Participants, their nominees and service providers have all vented their frustrations. It’s been a mess to say the least and hopefully the new government will deliver on its promise to fix the NDIS.

Fortunately, Myhorizon deals with the complexity of the NDIS every single day and though we can’t change the rules we do have expert knowledge of the scheme and will always advocate where we can on behalf of Participants.

I would like to pass on congratulations to our Employment Services division who again have blitzed their recent quality standards audit and consistently achieve 5 star status for Participants across a number of their sites. Finding and keeping jobs for people with a disability can make an extraordinary difference to their lives. Our latest survey of our Employment & Training Division Participants recorded an overall satisfaction rate of 98%, with 73% of Participants being very satisfied with our service. Congratulations to the Employment Services Team for such an outstanding result.

It is pleasing that during the struggles and disruption over the past couple of years, we have been able to maintain our commitment to our Participants of being with you, for you.

Joe Gamblin,

Vadim is job ready

For people with disabilities, the move from school to employment can sometimes be a challenging transition.

Which is why programs like the School Leaver Employment Support (SLES) program can be life changing for NDIS Participants like Vadim Ovchinnikov, supporting him to gain the skills and confidence to navigate his employment options and gain meaningful employment.

Vadim, now 20 years old, originally came to Myhorizon’s Specialised Training service in March 2021 looking for employment opportunities, having had no previous employment skills or history, limited workplace communication and literacy skills, and little understanding of social protocols.

Through the SLES program and with the help of his Myhorizon Employment Support Worker Aaron, Vadim was able to overcome these barriers, identify his career goals and learn essential job skills such as resume preparation, interview skills, independent travel, teamwork, time management and many more.

Vadim then gained work experience where he was able to implement some of these newfound skills in a real work setting, and also discover what areas of work he liked, all before landing a paid job he now enjoys at McDonalds, Birkdale.

“I like serving the drinks and talking to the customers. I also get to meet new people and the job gives me my own money.” Said Vadim.

Employment and Training Assistant Manager, Nikki Louange is part of a passionate team at Myhorizon who support Participants through this process,

“It’s about helping Participants build their skills, their ability and their confidence to enter the workforce and achieve their employment goals. It’s through this intensive 1:1 job support where we see many success stories”, Said Nikki.

“In Vadim’s case, we helped him to successfully gain an interview and secure employment with McDonalds which included supporting him at the interview, assisting him with understanding their rostering program and looking at transport options so he could get to and from work safely”.

For more information on SLES and our Employment and Training service, contact us today.