Saturday, August 19, 2017
I did all the training. We have had 4 or 5 seminars now. I’ve come in a few times and sat with [a Befriend staff member] and we have gone through individual […clients], and she has suggested Befriend events.
I have been to some Befriends events with clients. We went to the BBQ and [are going on the] dog walking in a couple of weeks…The biggest barrier we face is getting people’s confidence to go to events. It takes a while to get the ball rolling and to get them going to new events.
[The clients] love it. Everyone there has faced the same barriers that they have. [Befriend] are really welcoming. It’s all been very positive. I went to the ball in an [organisational] capacity. We took 5 clients with us. We were their date for the night. Made sure they were OK. Made sure they weren’t drinking too much.
In the [training] seminars, we focused on two customers from [the organisation]. One customer has totally changed everything. All the support workers sat down and had a big brainstorm of what we could do. Their … timetable hours have changed. She is now going to lessons twice a week. She was going to a specialised disability class and we now have her at Beatty park in an everyone-can-go, run-of-the-mill normal aquatics class. That was a big change, she loves that now. She hates the fact that she goes to things with disability. Also with that, we actually applied for extra funding and got five extra hours, so that was pretty cool. That was just from that brainstorming, of working out what she needs.
Another client [name removed], also went to the ball, very hesitant to try new things. But now she has agreed to go to the Befriend BBQ on Sunday. That’s a big step for her. She goes to …a dancing class, only for disability clients. She doesn't like the fact that they can’t choose who she hangs out with, who she dances with.
Before Befriend, it was very much you go in there, you do your job, and you get out. Support workers go and get a support plan…. Let’s go to the zoo, let’s go to Scitech, you do your job… Lots of supports are used for family respite …. rather than actually doing something that the client wants. So the family are pleased - take care of him for five hours. They have things they need to do. They have lives.
So now, we think ‘what can we do in those five hours’. We find an interest that that person has, whether that's gardening or cooking, or for example cats. For one client, she loved cats….They used to just do whatever. Now they have been volunteering at the cat haven. Now she has purpose, she has a role, she is volunteering. She is hanging out with people who have similar interests. She is being an active participant in the community and volunteering in an organisation in which she loves. That just came from that one simple idea that ‘she loves cats’.
For me, that has been the biggest thing is getting everyone in a room together to talk about one person that we all know well, and want to help, then coming up with a list of things we can do. It’s fantastic. Befriend is the one who did this. They got us together. They ran us through the framework. They said ‘What are the interests, what activities could you do for that interest’…. It wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for [Befriend]. [They have] a great framework – it’s so simple, and so good.