Our stories

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Fit to Fight Mental Illness

3 Aug 2017

Said was homeless, and generally poor in mental and physical health. He used fitness as a means to improve his mental and physical health, and build his confidence and self-discipline. 

Said wanted to share the benefits of exercise with others experiencing poor mental health and/or homelessness. He gained certification and set out to be a personal trainer.
Working with Ability Links, Said found a mentor to help him set up a personal training service for people with a disability or mental illness. He was also linked with a community sports centre and started working as a volunteer. Once he has further qualifications he will likely be added to the roster as a paid instructor.

Read Said's full story here

Rei's Story

31 Jul 2017

Rei had recently moved to a new area. He was looking for ways to remain active and become involved in his new local community. After meeting with Ryan from Ability Links, Rei decided to focus on his passion for karate. Rei and Ryan worked together to find a local class, choose a time to attend and determine a way to get there. 

Rei was an instant hit with the Karate class, impressing the other participants by performing a choreographed Karate routine.  Rei chatted with the adult participants in the class, and got involved in a game of ‘tip and chase’ with the younger kids, bringing an infectious energy into the room.  After the first class the Sensei remarked that Rei, “trains very hard!”, and encouraged him to come weekly.  Rei said to Ryan after the class that he really enjoyed himself, and that he felt everyone was friendly and welcoming.  After the second class, Rei’s mother Yumi contacted Ryan to let him know that Rei was very happy with making new connections at the Redfern Community Centre and intends to attend weekly Karate classes.  

Click here to read Rei's full story.


Speedy realises his life long Rabbitohs dream

23 Jul 2017

“Speedy” is well-known in Coffs Harbour. He has a larger than life personality and is a huge fan of the Rabbitohs.

He is usually kitted out in Rabbitohs gear, with team flags and streamers flying from his bike’s handlebars. Speedy even keeps two pet rabbits and a guinea pig named Russell as part of his devotion to the Rabbitohs.

Speedy's dream was to get to a Rabbitohs game, because he had never had the chance to see his beloved team play.

Click here to read more

Freedom Feast

11 Jul 2017

Food is well known for its power to bring people together and the recent Freedom Feast in Coffs Harbour was no exception.

The event, which was supported by Ability Links NSW, was an opportunity for Coffs Harbour area residents to celebrate Refugee Week with their enjoyment of food and freedom.

Close to 500 people responded to the invitation to attend with a wide variety of foods on offer.

Ability Links NSW, Program Manager Anna Thompson said the event was an inclusive event with people young and old with some attending in traditional dress.

Read more

SmartART gets creative

27 Jun 2017


Smart Art Inclusion Challenge

The inaugural Smart Art Includes You Challenge is open to all school students in the Hunter and Central Coast. 

The challenge is run by Ability Links NSW.  Students may enter their artwork as an individual or as part of a group in one of four categories: rap song, video, photos, and visual art. 

All eligible entrants go in the draw to win prizes of $5000 or $2500 for their school to spend on resources, programs, training or equipment to help build the school’s capacity to be inclusive.   

Read the full article in the Newcastle Star.

To find out more, go to: smartartchallenge.com


Fusion Culture Group

26 Jun 2017

Fusion Culture GroupThe Sydney City Ability Links NSW team from St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, in partnership with the Rockdale team from Settlement Services International, organised an interactive Ability Links NSW presentation with ‘Fusion Culture Group’, a well-respected Chinese performing arts group based in Ultimo.  The group is made up of around 100 community members, the majority of whom speak Mandarin as their dominant language. 

Read more about the Fusion Culture Group experience.

Connecting with meaning

19 Jun 2017

Making meaningful connections with people matters in ways most of us never stop to consider.

Ability Links NSW, which has been doing this work in the Hunter and Central Coast regions for the past four years.

The first of its kind in Australia, Ability Links NSW takes a whole-of-life approach to help people build their connections, increase their confidence and become active members of their community.

Read the full story in The Newcastle Herald.

Coming out on top – Wymarra’s Story

1 Jun 2017

Picture of Wymarra Rose

Growing up, Wymarra has had a lot of challenges to deal with.

Due to illness, Wymarra was frequently in and out of hospital. To add to the challenges he faced, Wymarra was bullied at school and felt like he never fit in.

So when Wymarra and his mum moved towns, it was a chance at a fresh start.

Wymarra’s mum contacted Ability Links and told them that they were feeling socially isolated and wanted to find out a bit more about what activities they could get involved in.

Read the full story here

Connecting to a Passion - Jason's Story

29 May 2017

Jason Roberts

When Jason first came to Ability Links his passion for photography, film making and editing was clear.

Jason had previously participated in a couple of disability specific theatre/media projects in his local area and was wanting to have more experiences working in these areas.

However, after completing a Transition To Work Program, Jason found himself staying at home on his own most days and not being part of any local social activities.

Read the full story here

Minister Williams visits Lismore

22 May 2017


Minister for Disability Services Ray Williams visited with Ability Links during his visit to Lismore.

Mr Williams said he was working diligently on showing how effective the program was and would do his best to continue the program past its funding end date of mid-2018.

"Every week we hear of another person with a disability who has become isolated, has connected with one of our linkers, which has enlightened them and brought them into a more inclusive society,” he said.

According to independent reports by Urbis, the program returns three dollars in economic and social benefits for every dollar invested by the government.

Read the full article in The Northern Star.

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