Providing services in thin markets and servicing ‘hard to reach’ clients has always been challenging. With the NDIS rollout there is more potential to support people who have not been well-serviced previously, but demand from these groups can be dispersed and slow to develop - and so hard to respond to efficiently. These projects are testing what works in gearing up to meet the needs of people who may have had little engagement with the sector. They offer supports in new ways and extend the geographic footprint of both broad and specialist supports.
Anglicare is testing an approach that uses allied health assistants to extend the reach and impact of allied health clinicians. Another approach to supplying scarce allied health expertise is being demonstrated by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) which is using teletherapy to deliver supports to people where they live in regional areas. Deaf Services Queensland is testing multiple approaches to deliver supports to the deaf community in regional, rural and remote parts of Queensland. Their strategies include extending access to Auslan services and supports across a range of platforms and involve mainstream community services such as neighbourhood centres and local libraries as part of the delivery method.
The NPY Women’s Council, Centacare, Growing Potential and Synapse projects each tackle the challenges of extending supports available to service users in remote Aboriginal communities. This means very remote in the case of the NPY Women’s Council project being undertaken across 26 communities and homelands. Projects primarily targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service users must address the challenge of building understanding and involvement in the NDIS at the same time as a fostering a local workforce. Centacare is doing this in Far North Queensland by targeting recruitment of Aboriginal workers into the sector, supported by a user-centric website, tailored training and coaching and on-hand support. Growing Potential is modelling ways to partner with a local Aboriginal health service to extend supports to people with disability as well as engage a local workforce. Synapse is developing a staffing model that includes mentoring within a new Aboriginal residential facility.