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Role of Support

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There is a lot of focus on independence in our society but we all depend on assistance or support from our family, friends, neighbours, community and work mates. This is often known as “informal support”. Some people may need extra support from time to time. This is sometimes called “formal” support. Support can be practical in nature, for example, assistance with household tasks and personal care but support also has an important role in assisting a person to create, live and thrive in their own home, for example supporting a person to make decisions and foster relationships in the community. This might include inviting family and friends over for dinner, doing jobs for neighbours, joining a local club or workplace.  Often when services do this, they forget it is the person’s home and run it like a business. Having a web of support is important as it adds to the richness of life.

Brendon Hunt gardening

Key Points

  • There is strength and an important safeguard when a network or web of support is in place, not just paid support. This helps people to have a range of relationships that do not depend on money but are freely given. 

  • Support is personally tailored to meet the person’s needs and also assists them to create a home that is meaningful, welcoming and reflects their tastes and preferences.

  • Support should not weaken the person’s voice or sovereignty or voice over their own home.

  • Support is developmental in nature – it helps a person to learn, develop skills and increase their independence. It does with people, not for people and changes over time.

  • Support has a key role in fostering relationships through connecting people to their neighbours, local community and intentionally inviting people to share in the person’s life.

Watch Videos

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Never too late for a good life
by June Arthy (Produced by Community Resource Unit)

June shares how after 60 years living in institutions and boarding houses, with the help of advocates and friends, she finally got a home of her own. Being more visible in the community helped her reconnect with the family she lost contact with all those years ago.

Click on the Video to watch ->

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It's a Good Life.
by Alex Sneddon (Produced by Belonging Matters)

Alex shares his story about creating a good life. Through his presentation, Alex talks about his roles in his community, work, vision to live in his own home, supports and living with flatmates

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Home Soon
by Bronwyn Moloney

Bronwyn Moloney, a keyworker of many decades experience, shares how moving in to a home of one's own is a transition which takes patience and a developmental mindset - particularly for people who can be difficult to support. She shares the priorities, ideas and strategies that create collaborative supports that can develop and grow over time.

Bronwyn Moloney
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The Importance of Everyone
by P. Fratangelo, L. Webb, E. Edwards, K. Webb, B. Buckout

This articles share how an agency can create very personalised supports around an individual to assist them to live in a home of their own

Kirsten & Erin
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Privacy, how does that feel?
by Alison Ouellette This article was originally published in ‘Network News’, Winter 2000, Edition 17. Windsor Essex Family Network: Ontario

We all need privacy, our own space to rest and regroup ourselves, or just have some quiet time, maybe even a little snooze. As families who have a family member with a disability we are often in a ‘catch 22’ situation. In this article Alison shares her feelings about this dilemma.

Alison and David
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Principles for Partnering Between Natural and Formal Supporters
by Michael Kendrick

In this article Michael Kendrick looks at the roles and responsibilities of natural supports (family and friends) and formal (paid) supports and offers some principles that can assist in working out how they can best work together. These principles provide clarity about the strengths and limitations of formal and informal supports so they can better collaborate in the shared goal of a good life for an individual with disability.

Michael Kendrick


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Seven Steps to Self-Direction
by Resourcing Inclusive Communities

Support can be complex with lots of people involved. In this 64 page workbook, learn seven steps to help everyone to work together effectively towards the goals of the person being supported, such as starting with the person, and developing the vision and plan.

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