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Make sure your provider addresses your needs
Make sure your provider addresses your needs

Whether you or someone you care for has a physical or mental handicap, you’ll likely need some help along the way. Hiring disability services, whether out of their own pocket or via government funding through programs like the NDIS, it is a big step both for the handicapped person, their families and anyone else involved with them.

Because of how delicate and sensitive some handicaps can be, there is a wide spectrum of different kinds of disability services that are appropriate for different care demands. It is as much of the responsibility of the handicapped person and their carers to find a good provider as well as the provider to deliver high quality disability services.

Finding a good provider of disability services is an important step for those with handicaps and gives them an opportunity to grow as well as develop greater levels of interdependence.  Let’s take a look at the following questions you should be asking before engaging professional disability services.

Do you know what you want and need?

The first step to finding the right choice of provider is to identify what it is you want out of them. Do you primarily want advice or someone who will be much more hands-on? Are you looking for someone to help reach specific goals or someone more grounded in daily care?

These questions need to be answered in order to filter out providers of disability services that may not be most appropriate for you. There are a huge range of different disability care providers with different approaches and philosophies, so it’s not hard to browse between several worthy options.

Are they flexible? Can you work with them logistically?

It’s great to have a provider that ticks all the theoretic boxes, but is working with them actually practical? Think about the distance you or they may need to travel, figure out if there are extra costs for re-scheduling or cancelling of engagements.

There’s no point finding the perfect provider only to realise you need to drive over an hour to see them. Remember, getting disability services is meant to make life more convenient for the handicapped person, not less so.

Are they personable? Do you get along with them?

Just like any job interview, you will need to assess if the candidate is right for you based on a lot of initial takeaways. You should be able to tell in your gut straight away if you don’t feel you can work with someone or they’re approach is questionable to you.

They should be able to speak your language so that there are no communications issues when they work with you. They should be good listeners who offer realistic suggestions based on training and scientific evidence.

Above all, they should be respectful and helpful at all times. They don’t patronise handicapped people but instead motivate and support them to achieve their goals.

This is why the disability services provider needs to build a meaningful rapport with their charge and be ready to meet them on their level. Every step of improvement and learning needs to be agreed with by the handicapped person and/or their carer.

Do they recognise your goals and want to help you reach them?

The provider of disability services is meant to be in an advisory and supportive role, not commander-in-chief. They should only make decisions when they are prompted for their expertise because they are being trusted to act as professionals.

At no point should they make decisions on behalf of a handicapped person in order to save time or because they think they know better. Disability services are designed to give handicapped people great freedom and choice, not to overtly dictate their lives for them.

Sarah Bowkett with her latest Mona Lisa inspired piece
Sarah Bowkett with her latest Mona Lisa inspired piece

IT wasn’t so long ago that Sarah Bowkett would never have even thought about art let alone art therapy let alone start to create Van Gogh-esque style paintings. Yet roughly just over a year since her first class with art teacher Marilyn Nash, Sarah continues to go from strength to strength and people are starting to take notice of her undeniable talent.

“I asked Sarah in one of our sessions what was it about art, drawing and painting that she enjoyed the most and her reply was immediate – When I draw and paint I feel free to express and be myself without anyone telling me what to do,” said Sarah’s teacher Marilyn Nash.

“Our Art Therapy sessions throughout the first and second quarter of 2018 have continued to develop Sarah’s technical and expressive art making abilities as well as deepening her trust and rapport with myself.

“It is always a delight to continue inspiring Sarah with new artistic ideas and stimulation to also help increase her sense of self-esteem and self-worth,” said Marilyn.

And now Sarah will display her artwork at the Diagnostic Centre in Parkes today from 3pm.

“It is extremely positive,” said Marilyn.

“Sarah is now keen for us to do regular updates of her artistic progress on social media which we will shortly start posting on the CDS Facebook page and I am also in discussions with the Program Co-ordinator Jodie Turner to organise an art exhibition of Sarah’s art works.”

They say ‘There is no must in art because art is free’ (Wassily Kandinsky) – never has there been a truer word spoken. Well done Sarah from everyone at CDS!

Martin Bates
Martin Bates

By Martin Bates

RECENTLY I took my first trip outside of Australia which was a real eye opener as you can imagine. I have some friends that I went to visit who live in Shanghai, Kunming and Guangzhou – three major cities in China so it eased some of my anxiety but naturally, being in a foreign country still held some fears for me. Knowing what I know now, it was more than fine.

China is a really friendly country and whilst there are police everywhere watching your every move they are very also helpful. I even saw a very minor car crash where there must have only been a few hundred dollars damage and the police assisted.

The first thing that struck me was the sheer wealth of the place. Gone is the image that China is a poor country with people on the street starving. The extravagance in the heart of the cities would take your breath away. Incredible skyscrapers that left me breathless, some that seem to defy the laws of physics and take engineering to another level. The money they have to turn a rice field into a mega city like something out of a space age movie in no time is mind blowing. But as you can see from the photo they still use bamboo scaffolding to build these buildings.

Much of the old traditional buildings and temples still survive and are flocking grounds for tourists all over the world. It is a country where old and new sit side by side harmoniously together. One side of the street could be an ultra-modern street sweeper and the other side could be a bloke wielding a broom doing the same job. There is a lot of civic pride where people tend to public gardens in their own time mainly because they are traditionally a nation of gardeners but also to quell the pollution problem.

It is such a culture shock coming from Australia which is sparsely populated to go to a place that is so densely populated. One could stand in a high point in the city and look at all four points of the compass and just see multi story apartment blocks as far as the eye can see.

The subway trains which are always packed have a few seats for the elderly and disabled to the side of the train and everyone else has to stand along the middle, so they can squash more people on. Trains will run as frequently as one a minute in peak hour. And whilst car ownership is commonplace there must be millions of bicycles, scooters, motorbikes and mopeds buzzing all through the cities. It is not uncommon to see a husband, wife and little baby all on a moped. Road rules and safety are totally different over there. You don’t have to wear helmets or have your lights on or give way to pedestrians. Pedestrians just have to wait for a break in the traffic even at the crossings. To change lanes you put your blinker on, honk your horn and push in. And yet somehow it still seems to work, fortunately we didnt see a road accident while we were there.

One of the highlights of the trip would have to be the food. It was to die for! And so cheap! Six of us dined at a restaurant and all up it cost 100 Yuan which is $20 Australian. We even went to a green tea restaurant where they served just green tea in over 100 different varieties. They are a nation that love their food with restaurants everywhere as it is their culture to dine out regularly with friends.

I managed to learn a bit of the language over there which is totally different to English. They use characters instead of words. So the character looks vaguely similar to what it is describing. For instance the word for fire; “hoi” is drawn as a character that looks like a fire. Mandarin is the official language that everybody speaks. Also too despite being bigger than Australia in size there is only one time zone right across the country, I guess so that people can do more business and make more money.

“Being communist everyone has a job but because there is also a large degree of capitalism too there are huge incentives for business owners to employ people with a disability such as subsidies and tax cuts. This gives China one of the highest percentage rates of disability employment in the world. Australia by contrast rates very poorly in this regard.”

The photo of the restaurant is at Kunming which is in the mountainous region near the Himalayas. Kunming is considered a smaller city because it only has 7 million people!  When a meal is served the waiter brings the food on a table carried in his teeth escorted by the lady dancer who dances to music played in the background. This is quite a common tradition in this part of China.

So overall I had an awesome two weeks which is definitely too short a time to appreciate the fullness of the country. I hope to go there again for sure.

Currajong Disability Services Chairman Neil Unger is on a mission to make carobs a preferred alternative source of food
Currajong Disability Services Chairman Neil Unger is on a mission to make carobs a preferred alternative source of food

IT’S the little known product that could create a great impact on the Australian agricultural industry and provide revenue for many groups that may not have normally benefited from it.


Carob is a beneficial type of shrub in the same family as peas that have a wide variety of health benefits, including its ability to boost the immune system, reduce the risk of cancerimprove digestion, slow down ageing, prevent cardiovascular diseases, and manage diabetes.

According to Ogranic Facts, Carob, also known as St. John’s-bread, is a member of the Fabaceae family, so the edible fruits are considered legumes, like peas. The fruit comes in a pod, much like peas, and they grow in a cylindrical shape supported by a thick trunk, from which the pods grow. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region and Northern Africa, as well as parts of the Indian subcontinent and Asia, all the way to Macaronesia. Many cultures regularly use carobs like other nuts and seeds, and also as a substitute for chocolate!

The health benefits of carobs are mainly attributed to their vitamin and mineral content, like calciumzincpotassiumphosphorusvitamin Kriboflavin, and vitamin E, as well as its natural antioxidants.

Yet there’s only one problem – no one knows about just how useful they really are.

Neil Unger, Chairman of Currajong Disability Services who has spent his life on the land, is on a mission to change that and educate the masses on the numerous advantages carobs provide.

“The biggest issue facing the industry is getting the message out there,” said Neil.

“Carob is drought proof, can grow on free draining soil, slightly salt tolerant and feeds stock for free.

“Not to mention the numerous health benefits for people,” he said.

Yet for Neil and Currajong to take the next step in the carob production business they need your help.

“We are a niche NDIS service provider in Central West NSW and we see carobs as an investment to generate revenue for our not-for-profit organisation,” he said.

“To do that we need assistance from farmers who have some acreage to grow carobs.

“We can’t do it alone and we are happy to share the windfalls and successes that come with it,” Neil said.

The value of carobs doesn’t just lie in food and health but also seeds, pods and trees – something that every person who works on the land should take stock of.

“Carob is an amazing legume but the masses aren’t aware of just how incredible it is,” said Neil.

“My mission is to change that and to make carob a viable alternative in the agriculture and health industries.

“If I can do that not only will many benefit from it in the said sectors but hopefully it will safeguard the future of Currajong Disability Services well into the 21st century.”

To get involved with carobs or find out more info email

CDS is releasing a Currajong Cookbook later this year and we want some foodies and master chef aspirants to give us their favourite recipes.
CDS is releasing a Currajong Cookbook later this year and we want some foodies and master chef aspirants to give us their favourite recipes.

CURRAJONG Disability Services will be releasing a cookbook later this year and we are asking all clients to give us their favourite recipes.

The cookbook, which will showcase the culinary talents of many of Currajong’s clients will be used as a keepsake for clients, staff and families.

“Many clients love to cook and have had experience or gained a certificate in hospitality,” said Activities Team Leader Indigo Kriedemann.

“We believe such an undertaking will prove very popular.

“We have done something similar before so it is good to tap back into a favourite tradition at Currajong and make it current,” said Indigo.

The cookbook will showcase the hospitality skills of CDS clients and with discussions underway to make it available for sale.

People came from far and wide for the Autumn Tour rally.
People came from far and wide for the Autumn Tour rally.

Last weekend, the Parkes Antique Motor Club (PAMC) held a pre-1931 Vintage and Veteran Autumn Tour from Friday, May 4 until Sunday, May 6. A raffle on the day raised $675 for CDS.

The tour featured an impressive combination of some very rare vehicles to the more popular and famous rides, all travelling from around the country and locally in the Central West. Names like Chevrolet, Chrysler, Buick, Austin and Dodge rolled through the streets and roads of the Parkes Shire.

But perhaps the most eye-catching was the 1924 three litre VDP Bentley coming from Gunnedah, the Parkes-owned 1912 Albion (owned by Phil Dixon), 1911 T Ford from Narrabri, 1921 Silver Ghost Rolls Royce from the Entrance and a 1918 57 Cadillac from Mudgee.

There was also a 1924 Gardner travelling from Wagga Wagga, which is believed to be the only one in Australia.

And so far the oldest car that entered in the tour was a 1908 AX Renault from Mittagong. Club president Tony Horsington couldn’t be more thrilled about the event.

“You won’t get this many vehicles of this kind in the one place anywhere in Australia this year,” he said.

“Parkes is privileged to have them. It’s also the only national heritage event in the Parkes Shire this year.

“We belong to the Council of Heritage Motor Clubs NSW, that’s based in Canberra,” he said.

“We’re encouraging people to come and take a look.

“We as an antique motor club believe it’s important to keep vintage and veteran vehicles alive to show younger generations what transport was like in the earlier days.

“Not everyone was travelling around in a Sandman, if they were lucky,” he laughed.

Shane Spicer, Bonnita Brady, Kristy Harvey (Target) and Indigo Kridemann try out the new pillows.
Shane Spicer, Bonnita Brady, Kristy Harvey (Target) and Indigo Kridemann try out the new pillows.

THEY say a little kindness goes along way and that’s exactly what Target Parkes have exhibited with a generous donation to Currajong Disability Services recently.

Kristy Harvey – Parkes Manager of Target was on hand to present the pillows and bedding to Currajong Direct Care Team Leader Indigo Kriedemann in what is a real boost for CDS.

“The pillows are essential for us as we attract more clients and update our resources at our many residences,” said Indigo.

“Target have long been proud supporters of Currajong.

“We are very pleased with the donation and look forward to working with them in the future.”

The latest donation comes on the back of a success Day On The Green at Railway Parkes Bowling Club, numerous gernous gestures from the Parkes community and business sector and more recently, a huge cheque from Parkes Services Club for $5000 to assist with transport needs.

Kristy Harvey was more than happy to present the stock from Target.

“We received excess bedding stock not in range and HQ asked me to donate to a local organisation,” she said.

“I approached Sharnie Morris from Currajong and said – what about Currajong? Do they want more pillows for group homes?

“She said CDS would gladly take the excess bedding stock,” said Kristy.

“And Target Parkes are pleased to donate to such a wonderful organisation as Currajong is a vital member of our community and we knew the stock would be put to good use in the many residences CDS has around Parkes.”

This continues the strong relationship between Target and CDS as Target has previously provided work experience ops for CDS clients including Thomas Davis.

“We have always had a strong bond with Currajong and we look forward to it continuing well into the future,” Kristy said.

We do too.

Parkes Services Club GM Denis Lane, Currajong CEO Jeff Evans and Parkes Services Club President Terry Knowles with the cheque donation.
Parkes Services Club GM Denis Lane, Currajong CEO Jeff Evans and Parkes Services Club President Terry Knowles with the cheque donation.


IF ever there was an example of the generosity of the Parkes business community it was on full display this week when the Parkes Services Club donated $5000 to Currajong Disability Services to assist with transport needs. The cheque was donated by General Manager Denis Lane and Parkes Services Club President Terry Knowles.

The donation, which is part of Parkes Services Club’s commitment to contributing to the community and community organisations, will aide clients of Currajong who rely heavily on timely and adequate transport. Transport has become a big issue since the implementation of the NDIS in the Central West since July 1 last year.

“It is a tremendous gesture by the Parkes Services Club and we are humbled by the kind donation,” said CDS CEO Jeff Evans.

“Parkes Services Club, like Currajong, fulfils an important role in the regional community on a number of levels and this assistance allows our clients to navigate day-to-day life with more ease.

“We are extremely thankful to them and all our supporters who have really stepped up over the past few months,” said Jeff.

The donation will also allow clients to attend specialist appointments, workshops and other activities factored into their NDIS plans that previously they may not have been able to attend without huge costs and significant planning.

“This donation will directly help our clients who need to seek out individual or group consultations, meetings or care,” said Jeff Evans.

“Prior to this it was challenging to maintain certain services but this alleviates some of the pressure on all concerned.

“It is just another example of the magnificent spirit of the Parkes and Central West business community helping out,” he said.

“Thanks again Parkes Services Club for your unwaivering support and the incredible gesture.”

For Terry Knowles, it was a great to again support a local organisation along with the business community.

“One of our staff noticed Currajong’s fundraising efforts to improve services and resources so we thought how can we help?” said Terry.

“Currajong plays an important role in the Parkes regional community.

“It is tremendous that we have been able to help out in some small way.”

Debbie Hewitt trying out the new care chair with Wendy Clothier
Debbie Hewitt trying out the new care chair with Wendy Clothier

CURRAJONG Disability Services have finally received the long awaited Care Chair from the proceeds of the Railway Bowling Club’s Day On The Green from early February.

In a real boost for CDS, enough funds were not only raised for one Care Chair but two, ensuring all clients in need will be able to access the new equipment moving forward. That brings the total of Care Chairs now at Currajong to three.

Contributors included Cunningham’s IGA who donated from their Community Chest Program towards the cause while Companions Thru Cancer also stepped up with a substantial gift. There was also a significant personal contribution made directly to CDS for the new Care Chair from a generous local community member.

“It’s fantastic for Currajong,” said Jeff Evans, CEO of Currajong Disability Services.

“There has been a tremendous collective effort and fundraising drive and we are ecstatic.

“It has exceeded our expectations and we can’t thank everyone enough!”

The first care chair has arrived with the second on its way but plans are underway to get it here sooner rather than later which is great news for CDS clients in need.

“It has been a great start to 2018 for us and we hope to continue our magical 25 year anniversary,” said Jeff.

Watch this space for more info on the second care chair and CDS 25 year celebrations.

Glenn Westcott (PCS), Dane Millerd (CDS) and Jason Wynstra (PCS)


PARKES Christian School recently took time out of their busy schedule to pose for a photo and discuss their recent effort at the Moomba Birdman Rally.

“We have $1400 raised for Currajong Disability Services (CDS),” said Design and Technology teacher Jason Wynstra, one of the driving forces behind the PCS effort.

“While we didn’t defend our title this time it was an incredible performance.

“The distance was short of what the students were hoping for, but it is the experience that really mattered,” he said.

“Along the way we raised funds to support a charity of our choice and this year we raised over $1400 for Currajong Disability Services with the support of our school and the Birdman community,” he said.

“It is really important for our students to have a range of experiences and to understand that there is more to life than the little bubble that can be created at school,” Mr Wynstra said.

“Students working on the project have already evaluated our flight and are developing concepts for the Parkes Flyer 3.”