New dawn for disability in Warwick

Anne Stevens says she is delighted to see the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) picking up the baton from people like her parents, Warwick natives Jack and Sheila Littler, who committed their lives to improving opportunities for people with a disability.

The NDIS is to roll out in the local area from 1 January next year, overhauling the way in which the sector is funded, and giving greater choice and control to the people it supports.

“I’m still learning what the scheme all about, because obviously I want to help my sister Jenny get the most out of it, but so far I’m hopeful,” Anne said.

“When Jenny was born there were no services for people with a disability in Warwick. My mum and dad were determined to get something for her, and for children like her, so they started up a branch of what was then the Sub Normal Association.

“There was a group of them who worked really hard to make a difference, including setting up an Op Shop. They eventually raised enough to establish the Warwick Business Service and Milpera Residential.”

Anne and Jenny’s father, Jack Littler, was the inaugural President of what was to become Endeavour Foundation Warwick, and was elected President at the association’s first meeting in 1965 - a position he held for 30 years. He and his wife Sheila both received an Order of Australia Medal for their efforts on behalf of people with a disability.

“Mum and Dad just wanted Jenny to have as good an education as possible, and to know that she would be looked after. Now I’m taking over looking after her, and I’m learning all the time.

“Jenny really isn’t in a position to say what she wants and needs, but I do know what she enjoys doing, and I know the level of care she needs, so I’m hopeful that the NDIS will help us to ensure that she gets the most out of life and can continue to be really well looked after by Endeavour Foundation. They’re so caring and thorough – it means so much to know she’s happy and well cared for.

“Jenny needs a lot of help, with every area of her life. I recently took her and Mum on holiday and, I have to be honest, it was really tough. We took her to Coolum and she absolutely loved it. I knew it was never going to be a ‘holiday’ for me, but it made me realise that I really will need help if I’m going to be able to keep taking her away.

“I’m hopeful that the NDIS will mean additional support for Jenny, so that we can make her life as fulfilling as possible.”

Endeavour Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organisation, committed to working together with people with a disability so that they can live life to the full. The local charity’s State Business Manager, Tanya McCulkin, said that while the transition to the NDIS can appear daunting, it is the key to “building a better, more inclusive, Australia”.

“The beauty of the NDIS is that decisions about your life and your plan are yours to make. This is the first step on an exciting journey, and we have the highest hopes for what it will deliver for people with a disability.”

Endeavour Foundation is reaching out to the local community, offering information and support ahead of the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme- visit www.endeavour.com.au or call 1800 112 112 to find out more.

Jack Littler at Milpera Jenny Littler