Youth with disabilities in the Northern Rivers are taking big steps towards improving their socialisation and career skills thanks to Disability Support Service RedInc. and the ETC Community Support Fund.
Espace Tech Hub, the brainchild of RedInc, has been providing a place for local youth to collaborate and have fun together, but was devastated by the recent floods in Lismore.
“We lost our Wi-Fi which is imperative for the Hub to function. But thanks to ETC funding, we were able to regain this connection,” said Ric McQueen the Coordinator of Espace Tech Hub.
“We’ve also been able to grow our services by purchasing equipment to help us build multimedia computers.”
According to Mr McQueen, the clients who attended the Hub were gaining knowledge and skills through hands-on technology based activities.
“Not only that, but this is giving them socialisation, they are forming friendships, getting out of the house, building trust and confidence, and relating to others who may also be on the Autism Spectrum. Rather than play a video game at home, we’re encouraging them to come and play here as a community,” he said.
Local youth Scott Gray has been attending Espace Tech Hub for the past year and has seen a tremendous change in his social skills.
“Coming here has been one of the biggest steps in my life, it was difficult at first because I wasn’t used to all the people here. I don’t normally associate with people on the outside world, I’m usually in my room 24/7,” Scott said.
“Nowadays I don’t feel shy, I’m calm and collected when I want to talk to someone. I enjoy coming along to have a bit of fun with my friends and to hang out with some new people that are just like me. My family and friends have noticed that I have become a lot more sociable with other people, which I would normally find uncomfortable.”
Scott is also learning how to code which he says is a big learning curve, but he thinks it will benefit him in the future.
“I’m hoping to get a job in game development or working with computer hardware/software as this is something I really enjoy doing,” he said.
ETC Deputy Chair Lorraine Penn said it was a pleasure to be able to support RedInc.
“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Penn said.
“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.”
For more information about RedInc. and its services for people with disability visit www.redinc.org.au.
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