TWO former sports executives are driving a start-up in the disability sector after identifying “huge gaps” in the provision of services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Former Australian Sports Commission managers Kellie Puxty and Shelley Youman, a former Matilda, have founded OneCommunity, a platform that connects people with disabilities and NDIS service providers.
The duo, who have worked in executive roles at length, began to form a business plan for their startup after working together in community engagement and support roles at disability provider House With No Steps.
“We have found that people with disabilities, once they get their 12-month NDIS plan, have a whole lot of trouble finding a service that matches their needs,” says Ms. Puxty, who has worked extensively in paralympic sport. “For example, they have funding for an occupational therapist but don’t know where to start looking for one.”
On the flip side, she said NDIS service providers were often battling to connect with new clients.
“Organisations have had to change the way they operate and now they have to compete for business, a concept some are struggling with…and some are folding,” says Ms. Puxty.
Complicating things, she says, is the fact some NDIS support coordinators (those assigned with linking people with disabilities to service providers) often refer the disabled to traditional providers without knowing about emerging providers.
Formed in late 2017, OneCommunity is staging networking events on the east coast to allow NDIS providers to inform others of their services.
“Each service provider has a table of 25 people and there are support coordinators and teachers and carers present and they ‘speed date’ – so each coordinator has five minutes to promote what they are doing,” says Ms. Youman.
The events have been popular and will continue this year, allowing OneCommunity to develop a large database to broaden its web platform, which links those with disabilities to service providers.
The founders are passionate about linking those with disabilities to services, saying that those without advocates are those most at risk of not getting the help they need. Many, too, are risking a reduction in funding if they don’t spend their funding promptly.
“There is a lot of information on the government website and it is easy to be bamboozled,” says Ms. Youman.
Article originally appeared on: https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/5519958/sports-executives-kick-disability-sector-goals/
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