A Te Awamutu mum is looking for premises in which she can start a regular community activity group for people with disabilities.
Brittany Williams trained as a primary school teacher before working for StarJam, a not-for-profit group that enables young people with disabilities to enhance their potential through music, dance and performance. She knows of the work being done to support the disability sector by ConneXu, Enrich+ and Enabling Good Lives, and has a family member who attends Interlock Waipā, the Cambridge-based initiative launched in mid-2020. She regularly takes two young Te Awamutu women she is working with to those sessions.
“Even with these services on board, I know there are people in Te Awamutu who just sit in their flats with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I want to establish a group here where those people can come with their support workers, socialise and enjoy doing one-on-one craft activities for a couple of hours every week or fortnight,” she said. “I don’t want to clash with existing services, but rather enhance them.”
Brittany has been in touch with churches, community groups and other organisations, and used social media trying to find a suitable space but said finding the right thing at an affordable rate is proving tough. With minimal funding at hand, she hopes to find a space she can use either at no cost, or at a very nominal fee.
“The space doesn’t need to be huge, but it does need to have tables and chairs and access to kitchen and toilet facilities … and it does need to be wheelchair accessible.”
Her concept of a community hub where people with disabilities, together with their support workers, can spend a few hours making crafts and mingling with others has a dual purpose. Brittany said it was as much about giving them a space to socialise as it was to provide them with a range of stimulating activities they can enjoy doing.
“I have always had a passion for people with disabilities … been aware of what their specific needs were. I did a paper at uni about it and then managed workshops with StarJam through the wider Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions.
“After leaving to have my first child, I was contacted to be a support worker in this area. It is through doing that that I’ve become aware that there is nothing around in Te Awamutu that would fulfil the same sort of function as Interlock does in Cambridge and be more accessible for locals.”
Brittany envisages the gatherings would run between 10am to 12.30pm during school terms. She wants to get it going as soon as possible.
Those who might be able to help should email her at [email protected].