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Your Family Communication

In this edition, we talk about the changes to the NDIS and National Disability Employment Strategy, Bedford’s programs and the great achievements of our Clients.

The past year has been a challenging period, given COVID-19 we were unable to engage in face-to-face meetings, such as the Family Network Meetings.

Bedford’s Family Matters is a way for us to regularly keep our Bedford community connected and informed, and another means of providing you with an update on important topics and what’s happening at Bedford.

We value and welcome your feedback, so if you would like to let us know what you’d like to hear about in an edition of Family Matters, need assistance or wish to provide feedback, please send an email via the button below – we’d love to hear from you!

New NDIS Employment Supports Funding Model

Most of our families will be aware that in July 2020, the NDIS introduced changes to how it funded support for people with disability who work in supported employment. These NDIS changes will be rolled out across all disability providers by 31 December 2021.

The NDIS has committed to have all Participants plans reviewed by October this year.

At Bedford, we are assisting this process by providing information, surveys and forms to help our Clients transition to the new funding model.

The new funding structure will offer greater choice and control over career and work options. For example, NDIS Participants may choose more one-on-one support time to ensure they can reach their work goals, greater on-the-job training options, or additional opportunities to learn new pathway skills to start or transition into a new career or work choices.

To ensure we support our Employees in their transition to the new NDIS funding structure and achieve the best possible outcome for them, we have put in place a change-management team who have a comprehensive program designed to assist each of our Employees transition.

Bedford Employees and Staff have completed a number of surveys, designed to provide us with details of:

  • up-to-date general information like address, NDIS number, if they participate in Day Programs or Community Access & Lifestyle programs, etc
  • current work schedule and the individual support Clients receive at Bedford. For example, the level of 1:1 support, supervised support and group training, etc.

We are also in the process of meeting with each of our current Clients to complete a Bedford Step Forward Survey with them to discuss their career goals. This meeting will provide information on the type of NDIS funding available to them for a customised program of employment supports.

Each Employee’s information will then form one document, the Summary of My Employment Supports which is a detailed snapshot of their information on the type of NDIS funding available to them for a personalised program of employment supports.

The Summary of My Employment Supports will be provided to every Employee to inform and prepare them when they meet and discuss their needs with their Local Area Coordinator, and then have their NDIS Plans funded to support their career goals.

Bedford is working on a strategy to provide new employment opportunities and when finalised we will provide the details to all of our Clients – our Employees and Clients who attend our Day Options and Community Access & Lifestyle programs, families and carers. We are very much looking forward to providing new and exciting opportunities for our Clients.

We’re always here to help, so if you have any questions or would like more information about the new funding structure, please email or call one of our team via the buttons below.

Bedford not only provides our Employees with the opportunity to work in a safe and secure workplace but also provides an environment where friendships are built and maintained as we recognise this is an important aspect of being happy within a job.

We recognise that our Clients need and want to have access to supports and services outside of their employment supports, and at Bedford, we have a great range of offerings in our Day Option programs and Community Access & Lifestyle Services program enabling clients to choose from the following:

We also recognise that many of our Clients are managing a range of needs, and being employed at Bedford gives them a reliable foundation around which they can plan any other services and supports they need.

We are also expanding our service offerings across the whole organisation – including opportunities within Day Options programs that aim to build independence and capacity through our life skills and work skills programs and volunteering opportunities by partnering with like-minded organisations such as the RSPCA and Meals on Wheels. We are continually developing and adding programs that provide greater inclusion and access to recreational sport, the performing arts, and educational options through our Community Access & Lifestyle Services program.

At Bedford, we stand apart from many other providers; a day in the life of a Client at Bedford may mean coming to work five days or choosing a combination of work and a Day Options program one or two days a week. Clients attending our Day Programs can choose between a variety of activities on offer – which might be to study how to get a Learner’s Permit or cook a two-course meal. Clients may also choose to develop their skills when using Technology or enjoy a fun outing to the Zoo through our Social Saturday Group.

We are always looking for new ideas on what our Bedford Clients want and need to help support their educational or social goals, so let us know what you would like us to add to our current service offerings, or to find out more about our Day Options and Community Access & Lifestyle programs via the buttons below

We know that the NDIS can be difficult to navigate at times and that funding changes introduced by the NDIA may be confusing, but we’re here to help and look forward to supporting our Clients and their families to help maximise the opportunities that can be achieved through individual NDIS Plans.

National Disability Employment Strategy

The Australian Government recognises that people with disability can face many, and sometimes overlapping, barriers to employment, which prevent their full social and economic participation in Australian society.

Through the Department of Social Services (DSS), the Australian Government is developing a National Disability Employment Strategy to increase employment opportunities for people with disability.

The DSS sought feedback and ideas on how meaningful change can be achieved to inform the development of the Employment Strategy.

Bedford supported the consultation process of this important Government initiative, to help shape the new National Disability Employment Strategy, by making a submission, focused on the issues that matter most to the community and, more importantly our Clients.

You can read Bedford's submission to the Commission via the button below.

Disability Royal Commission

The Disability Royal Commission is now into its second year and has held numerous community forums, workshops and 11 public hearings.

The Commission has also written and then taken submissions from the community on a number of Issues Papers, designed to investigate and discuss matters that impact people with disability, place them at risk or are potential barriers to community inclusion and access. These Issues Papers are then used to frame the public hearings held by the Commission.

These hearings have addressed issues such as the impact of COVID on people with disability, barriers to open employment, health care access, education, indigenous issues, group homes, use of psychotropic medication, and the criminal justice system. In addressing these issues, the Commission has heard the voices of people with disability, their families, advocacy groups, health care professionals, academics in the field and providers.

Bedford supports the Disability Royal Commission and has submitted a response to the Commission’s Issues Paper on employment, which was referenced by the Commission in their hearing on open employment.

As a result of delays caused by COVID and the extent of the many issues raised, the Commission received approval to extend its enquiry for a further 12 months. This extension results in its final report and recommendations being available in 2023.

More information about the Commissions activities, their hearings, issues raised, reports, access to counselling and support is available on the Disability Royal Commission website.

Quizmas in July

Quizmas in July

Grab your cleverest elves, pack the eggnog and get ready to SLEIGH the competition as you take part in Bedford’s trivia night, Quizmas in July!

Please join us for a fun night out to support Bedford, one of South Australia’s most respected not-for-profits, and the largest employer of people with disability in South Australia.

Wear your most Christmassy outfit for your chance to win the best-dressed prize, and have a holly-jolly good time!

Tickets are $30 per person and tables are limited to groups of ten.

Each table will receive a gourmet cheese platter and bottle of wine on arrival. Other beverages and snacks will be available for purchase at the event or you might like to bring your own food and soft drinks.

Please click the button below to book your table of ten.

Fantastic Support

Bedford Ambassador, Faye Packham

Bedford Ambassador, Faye Packham, continues her tireless fundraising efforts, which have resulted in donations to Bedford in excess of an astonishing three hundred thousand dollars.

Faye’s commitment to Bedford and to people with disability is remarkable. Faye’s daughter Lauren, works at Bedford as a Team Leader in Packaging and also joins in our Day Program activities.

Although, as Faye puts it, she “couldn’t do anything without her amazing group of helpers…the Clayton’s Committee (named after the drink you have when you’re not having a drink)”, is a group of ten ladies, one of whom is 92 years old, who began fundraising for Bedford in 2008.

Faye has put her quilt making and teaching skills to exceptional use, giving up months of her time to travel far and wide across metropolitan and regional South Australia, so that people have an opportunity to benefit from her quilting skills and knowledge.

This year, Faye and the Clayton’s Committee will hold 15 Bedford Mystery Quilt workshop days across South Australia. Most of the fabric for the quilts is donated, and the Clayton’s Committee go to work on the mammoth task of cutting and packaging the quilting kits ready for the workshops.

Most recently, Faye and her quilting group, donated $30,000 to support the refurbishment of our Gepps Cross kitchen, and a further $5,000, which was put towards purchasing musical equipment for the Bedford Beats

The intent of the refurbishment is to provide our Clients and Staff with upgraded facilities and also have a purpose-built kitchen in which our Community Access & Lifestyle cooking program could be delivered from our Gepps Cross site.

Gepps Cross Kitchen

A great new fit-for-purpose kitchen

Building the new kitchen was a large project and involved the hard work of the entire Maintenance Facilities team and many of our Gepps Cross Clients.

Working to a tight budget, the team got the demolition started, removing internal walls, the industrial extraction system and then installing a new ceiling.

Time for the old kitchen cabinets to go and replaced with new made-to-measure cabinetry, built in-house at Gepps Cross by our Clients and Staff. A paint job, new ovens, extraction fans and a fridge, and the result is brilliant!

Bedford’s Women’s Auxiliary

We are very fortunate to have the support of this amazing group who have been raising funds for Bedford, and our antecedents since 1961, raising close to $1.2m during that time.

It’s a testament to the commitment of this group, that even during last year’s upheaval, they were able to continue their great fundraising activities and raised $11,000.

Funds raised by our Women’s Auxiliary have supported many projects that would not have been possible without their support. This year’s donation will fund the purchase of resources and equipment that our Clients can use in their Day Options programs, for example art and craft supplies used in creative programs or kitchen utensils and equipment for cooking classes. We’re also planning a Clients’ cookbook…our people…our stories…our recipes. More on that to come later.

Our Hospitality team served-up a delicious morning team and two of the Hospitality team members, Rita and Melissa, helped me to present a small token of our appreciation to the Auxiliary for their awesome support.

Bedford's Women's Auxilliary

Our awesome Women's Auxilliary

Wedding Bells at Bedford

Bedford Clients, Martin McDiarmid and Tracey Argent noticed each other across a crowded room….and as ‘they’ say, the rest is history!

The wedding was a real Bedford affair with the happy couple choosing Bedford’s Residential facility, Balyana, as their venue. Personnel & Training Officer, Mark Smart, officiated and brought the home-made cake.

Following the ceremony, the reception was also held at Balyana and our Hospitality team provided the catering and also helped out with flowers and decorations.

Congratulations to Tracey and Martin!

How We're Moving Bedford Forward

What's Happening in Day Options Programs and Community Access and Lifestyle

In a nutshell, A LOT! The Beginner Technology Booklets created by our Developmental Educator, Julia Calabrese, have been popular with several Clients during Community Access and Lifestyle program - Technology.

These booklets are designed to support Clients to develop skills in a variety of areas including mouse skills, typing, computer basics and internet safety. At the end of each module, Clients are awarded a Certificate.

Check out the pictures below of Clients Mike and Andrew, proudly holding their Certificate of Achievement.

Whyalla Day Options Centre Opens

Bedford identified a need in Whyalla and its surrounds, for people to have access to a dedicated Day Options site.

The exciting news is that on 7 May this year, Bedford held the official opening of its Whyalla Day Options Centre. This centre will provide access for 30 full-time clients (and many, many more if Clients choose to attend one or two programs a week) with the opportunity to be part of centre and community-based programs which are designed to meet each of their personal goals and needs, including building social skills, confidence, self-esteem and independence through our day programs.

Through our employment services operations in Whyalla, we have developed valuable relationships in Whyalla and the surrounding regions, and we recognise the significance of the relationships with our commercial clients and partners whose support is so important to Bedford, and also in providing employment in regional South Australia.

Bedford was generously supported by many organisations and individuals who helped make the centre possible by either providing funding or in-kind support, and we are most grateful to:

  • Beyond Bank
  • Mrs Bronwyn Ellis
  • Lions Club of Whyalla
  • McMahon Services
  • Whyalla City Council

and I can’t forget our own Bedford Employment Services Team, who did a great job fundraising when they opened the garden just opposite our employment site.

We are thrilled to offer this important service to support people with disability in Whyalla and its surrounding regional community on the Eyre Peninsula!

There’s lots to read in this edition of Family Matters – don’t forget to let us know what you’d like to hear about in an edition of Family Matters, or if you need assistance or provide feedback, please send us an email via the button below.