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Jujubes are sprouting leaves
THE Currajong Disability Services farm at Akuna Road is a hive of activity this week as the jujubes begin to get their leaves.
 
The farm, which also houses Currajong’s carob tree project, has already produced jujubes last season that were sold at the Sydney Markets and Currajong CEO Jeff Evans envisages it will be a distribution path that will be utilised again.
 
“When we pick in March/ April we will then explore all options for distribution including the markets,” he said.
 
“Last season we did quite well from sales down there.
 
“We know the market exists but now the challenge is to explore other avenues,” he said.
 
In 2016 Currajong Disability Services was offered five acres (2 ha) of land by Parkes Shire Council to use for dry farming.
It was decided that the land would be used to farm Chinese dates – also known as jujubes.
 
Jujubes are relatively new to Australia but the possibility of tapping into a growing market with a unique and increasingly popular product proved too good to ignore.
 
The jujube is one of the most important fruit crops in China and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and food for thousands of years. Cultivation records in China go back 3000 years for the jujube and it can also be found in neighbouring Asian countries.
 
Jujubes are extremely nutritious and are loaded with potassium, phosphorus, calcium and manganese as well as iron, sodium, zinc and copper. Additionally, the jujube is also a rich source of Vitamin C and B-complex. The Vitamin C content is higher than many other well-known fruits also known for high content such as oranges, making the jujube a healthy fruit with high antioxidant levels.
 
“Jujubes can be eaten fresh, dried or processed as ‘Chinese dates’,” said Jeff.
 
“They can be used in cakes, jam and breads as well.
 
“And they taste great!”
 
Since the beginning of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2017, service providers like Currajong
Disability Services (CDS) have had to find new ways to generate revenue.
 
“Our jujube farm is a key part of our future and success here at Currajong,” said Jeff.
 
“Hopefully it will also provide employment for our disability clients and benefits for all CDS stakeholders.”
Blake Huntly, Dearnne Callaghan, Donna Apps, Sandra Lee Merritt, Shannon Miller and Jarrad Simpson

IT was the day everyone from Currajong came together for a good cause and if the feedback and money raised is anything to go by, the fundraiser for the McGrath Foundation was an outstanding success.

“We decided to pink up and get in the spirit to support this worthwhile cause – raising money to fight cancer,” said fundraiser organiser, Indigo Kriedemann of Currajong Disability Services.

“Our aim was to raise $1000 and so far at last count we have passed the halfway mark.

“Fingers crossed we hit our target and we can make a difference!”

Currajong clients and staff all got in the spirit and celebrated by dressing in pink (along with everyone else in Parkes) and holding a morning tea for the public.

“The response has been tremendous,” said Indigo.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for their effort and support and hopefully we can make a difference.”

The raise money will be to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia. Currently the MF have 135 McGrath Breast Care Nurses, who help individuals and their families experiencing breast cancer by providing physical, psychological and emotional support, for free.

From the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment, their highly-qualified nurses are there to help. While more than 75,000 families have been supported since 2005, more nurses are needed to meet the growing rate of breast cancer diagnosis in Australia.

There are nurses right across Australia including many regional and rural centres, where breast cancer treatment and support may be harder to reach.

The McGrath Foundation has become one Australia’s most recognised and respected charities since Jane and Glenn McGrath’s very public experience with breast cancer. When Jane was diagnosed with cancer for a second time, she had the support of a breast care nurse, who both empowered and comforted her, and her family. This experience set the mission for the Foundation, which has become an enduring commitment: to ensure every family experiencing breast cancer has the support of a Breast Care Nurse, no matter where they live – for free. The MF rely on the heartfelt support they receive from individuals, communities, corporate partners, government and groups like Currajong to continue providing and growing their nurse support across the country and increase breast health understanding.

Together, we can make a difference.

Dearnne Callaghan, Angie White and Cherie Lovett

National Carers Week, dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating carers in Australia, will run from Sunday 13th to Saturday 19th October 2019.

National Carers Week is about recognising and celebrating the outstanding contribution unpaid carers make to our nation.

There are over 2.7 million family and friend carers in Australia providing 36 million hours of care and support every week* to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug and/or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness or who is frail.

The replacement value of that unpaid care is $1.1 billion per week.

Anyone at any time can become a carer. National Carers Week is an opportunity to educate and raise awareness among all Australians about the diversity of carers and their caring roles.

This year, National Carers Week will run from Sunday 13 to Saturday 19 October 2019. To find out what events are happening near you, view our 2019 Carers Week Events Calendar.

Sign up to Carers NSW eNews to receive updates on the 2019 National Carers Week.

Event Resources

If you’re hosting an event this National Carers Week, visit https://carersweek.com.au/getinvolved/ to find resources that can help you promote your event.

Rhyse Forrestal (right) in action during Les Miserables

THE much anticipated Parkes Musical and Dramatic Society’s production of Les Misérables opened to a full house on Saturday night and was followed up by another maximum capacity house for the Sunday matinee.

Co-Director Neil Westcott said he feels it’s one of the best shows the society has produced in his 40 year association with it.

“I am just so proud of the whole team,” he said.

“The performance of the cast on stage was exemplary and put that with the new captioning, the wonderful band, the tech site we have as well as the wonderful set – it was an experience to behold.

“The response from the audience was of a range of emotions that went from being ecstatic with the performance to just the sheer range of emotions that Les Mis gives to you as you sit through it.”

In what has been described as a first in known history for regional theatre, the production features captions allowing people with a hearing impairment or those who may have difficulty understanding the sung dialogue to easily follow the story.

Neil said the feedback has been very positive.

“The captions seem to have been received really well,” he said.

“Les Mis is a story and like reading a book you get engrossed in the story.

“You could feel it on the night – people were in the story, they felt the anguish, they felt the humour and the dilemmas that go through that story – it certainly pulls at your heartstrings.

Les Misérables continues for three more weekends, finishing on the October long weekend.

“There are still tickets available for all shows,” Neil said.

“As usual, after the opening weekend tickets move more quickly because once people again get the message reinforcing that Parkes M and D really do put on a good value, quality performance word gets out and away we go.”

In other good news, local Currajong client Rhyse Forrestal also came in for praise reprising three roles in the acclaimed musical.

“I was so pumped to do this and try a variety of roles,” said Rhyse.

“I got to try a few things from a brief solo to an ensemble not to mentioned playing vastly different roles.

“It was amazing and I can’t wait to do it again!”

Dolly Allan gives Thomas Davis the chop for charity

THOMAS Davis has kept his promise and shaved his locks to raise vital funds for the McGrath Foundation.

Davis, who hinted at shaving months before, had his curls snipped by Dolly Allan, also of Currajong.

“I think it’s a great initiative by Tommy” said Indigo Kriedemann of Currajong Disability Services.

“So far there have been around 500 donations.

“He is a credit to himself, his family and Currajong,” she said.

The idea first came to Tommy before the start of the 2019 NRL season when he was originally shaving his hair if the Canterbury Bulldogs won the wooden spoon.

While the Bulldogs rallied to finish mid-table, the idea soon developed into something else and more supportive of a worthwhile cause – cancer and the McGrath Foundation.

“I just wanted to make a difference,” said Tommy.

“Hopefully I have.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting me and the McGrath Foundation,” he said.

ABOUT THE MCGRATH FOUNDATION

We raise money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia. We currently have 135 McGrath Breast Care Nurses, who help individuals and their families experiencing breast cancer by providing physical, psychological and emotional support, for free.

From the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment, our highly-qualified nurses are there to help. While more than 75,000 families have been supported since 2005, more nurses are needed to meet the growing rate of breast cancer diagnosis in Australia. We are proud to have nurses right across Australia including many regional and rural centres, where breast cancer treatment and support may be harder to reach.

The McGrath Foundation has become one Australia’s most recognised and respected charities since Jane and Glenn McGrath’s very public experience with breast cancer. When Jane was diagnosed with cancer for a second time, she had the support of a breast care nurse, who both empowered and comforted her, and her family. This experience set the mission for the Foundation, which has become an enduring commitment: to ensure every family experiencing breast cancer has the support of a  Breast Care Nurse, no matter where they live – for free.

We rely on the heartfelt support we receive from individuals, communities, corporate partners and government to continue providing and growing our nurse support across the country and increase breast health understanding.

Together We Can Make A Difference!

To get behind Tommy call Currajong on 02 6863 4713.

The NDIS issues will be resolved by mid-2020 according to the Coalition.
MOST of the outstanding issues over the operation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme should be ironed out by the middle of next year, federal minister for the program Stuart Robert says.
He says by that time all the states, bar Western Australia, will be fully involved in the scheme.
“So rather than this fight to get everyone from the states into the NDIS, it’s now on to how we get the NDIS on a normal, natural footing,” Mr Robert told Sky News on Sunday.
“And of course, you run the flag up the pole once WA is into full scheme by 2023.”
However, he conceded the government still has some issues over NDIS’s digital capacity that links providers with participants, which the Productivity Commission has said is crucial to the scheme’s success.
“‘I”m not satisfied that our ICT is where it needs to be in terms of delivering it,” he said.
“It will take us a while to get that into fruition.”
But he said the government would be announcing its full NDIS plan in the next few weeks to lay out what he described as “the new normal” for business as usual.
What is the NDIS?

There are around 4.3 million Australians who have a disability. When it is fully rolled out, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide about 460,000 Australians aged under 65, who have permanent and significant disability with funding for supports and services. For many people, it will be the first time they receive the disability support they need.

The NDIS can provide all people with disability with information and connections to services in their communities such as doctors, sporting clubs, support groups, libraries and schools, as well as information about what support is provided by each state and territory government.

To check your eligibility go to – https://www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/am-i-eligible

Patrick Trout

TODAY is the first public sitting of the disability royal commission, or to give it its full name, the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

This isn’t just another royal commission. It is the culmination of many years of work by disabled people to get recognition of the scale of violence against us.

Disabled Peoples Organisations Australia put together some of the known data and statistics about violence against us. What we know is shocking:

People with intellectual disability are 10 times more likely to experience violence than people without disability;

People with intellectual disability are three times more likely to be victims of assault, sexual assault and robbery compared with people who do not have an intellectual disability;

20 per cent of women with a disability report a history of unwanted sex compared with 8.2 per cent of women without disability.

We live in group homesboarding houses and aged care homes, go to special schools and work in sheltered workshops.

Only 53 per cent of us have a job, compared with 82 per cent of non-disabled Australians, and many of us live in poverty. We often don’t have access to the internet, and can be socially isolated.

But these statistics only tell part of the story. They can’t tell the story of what it is like to not be able to choose who you live with, or to not be paid properly for your work. To not be able to access the same services and facilities as everyone else, and to have little choice about what you do every day.

Statistics don’t tell the story of being ignored or treated as less than human because you are disabled.

Unearthing hidden violence

Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability is rampant, and yet remains mostly hidden.

Disabled people routinely find that violence against them is covered up, not treated seriously or just ignored. This violence happens not just in the disability support system but also at school, at work, at home, in hospital and in the justice system.

This violence is everywhere in our lives, yet largely hidden from the view of non-disabled people, until this royal commission.

In 2014, a Four Corners episode focused on the abuse that people with disability experienced, and featured the bravery of Jules Anderson. Ms Anderson told Four Corners about the person, the monster, who hurt her.

She said: “I couldn’t speak to anyone because of fear of not being believed or the monster might take his threats… seriously, the threats he gave me.”

major Senate inquiry in 2015 heard from disabled people all over Australia that they had been neglected and exploited.

The inquiry report was clear and unambiguous when it reported back that the scale and extent of the violence against disabled people needed an urgent royal commission.

Another Four Corners episode in 2017 again heard courageous people with disability speaking out about the violence they had been living with.

This year, the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission reported more than 1,500 cases of abuse, just for those disabled people who are eligible for the NDIS, in only two states.

Why does this abuse happen?

The 2015 Senate inquiry said that “a root cause of violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability begins with the de-valuing of people with disability.” How people with disability are treated at work, at home, at school and in the community matters.

One in three disabled people have experienced discrimination in the last year, and 47 per cent of adults with disability have experienced violence, compared with 37 per cent of non-disabled people, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Witnesses are especially vulnerable

A royal commission has the power to investigate, to ask questions in a way that other inquiries don’t. This is particularly important for disabled people, as we often live in segregated environments, away from the public gaze.

The people with disability who will be telling the disability royal commission their stories will be taking risks that previous royal commissions haven’t had to deal with.

Many disabled people will want to share what has happened to them in their home, or with people who provide the essential supports they need.

This royal commission will have to make sure they can do this safely, without repercussions just for sharing their story.

Because we must share our stories, or we will never confront the reality of the violence we live with every day.

A long overdue reckoning

The royal commission must also look at the different lives of disabled people, and how the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality can all contribute to the violence against us, across multiple systems and services.

Damian Griffis, from First Peoples Disability Network told ABC RN that “we’re seeing an increasing criminalisation of disability … and there’s a number of examples that are showing that Aboriginal people with cognitive impairments being imprisoned, sometimes often indefinitely”.

This royal commission is a long overdue reckoning with how disabled people are treated in Australia, and with what needs to change.

This will be a time to listen to us tell our stories, and to we know needs to change to end the violence.

El Gibbs is a writer who focuses on disability and social issues, and a disabled person. She is also director of media and communications for advocacy group People with Disability Australia.

If you or anyone you know needs help
Lifeline 13 11 14
Mens Line 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline 1800 880 052
Aboriginal Family Domestic Violence Hotline 1800 019 123

Rhyse Forrestal, Dearnne Callaghan and Donna Apps

RHYSE Forrestal has had his fair share of ups and downs. Like many with a disability he has dealt with discrimination, disappointment and struggles with his self-worth.

It was those dark times though when he “couldn’t see the forest for the trees” that he realised he wasn’t OK and took steps to change the status quo.

“They say madness is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result,” said a very candid Rhyse.

“So I started to immerse myself in things that interested me like acting and looking for a job (which in time I managed to find one).

“Those conscious decisions to look at life differently, seek advice and help and try new things I had previously been afraid of changed everything for me,” he said.

Rhyse soon went from his constantly down state to suddenly feeling so much better about himself, his prospects and life in general.

“I still have some bad days but they aren’t as common as they used to be,” he said.

“Acting especially has given me a positive outlet and allowed me to meet new people.

“As they say in Shawshank Redemption – you’re either busy living or busy dying,” he said.

Now Rhyse has taken upon himself to be an ambassador for R U OK Day which is held on September 12 every year.

“I think it’s important we ask people if they are okay,” he said.

“Someone asked me and it changed my life.

“Someone asking R U OK? (Are you okay?) can have the power to positively impact a persons life in ways most would never know.”

With Australia having among the highest suicide rates (especially among males) in the world never has R U OK held so much relevance.

“I had endless questions and was in a dark place,” said Rhyse.

“Feeling like you don’t belong anywhere is isolating and scary – being alone is different to being lonely and misunderstood.

“A measure of who we are of a society is how we treat our most vulnerable so whatever you do just ask someone if they are OK.

“They may not show or exhibit all the signs but you never know what someone is going through,” said Rhyse.

To get involved in R U OK Day check out this link or simply start asking people are they OK. Those simple few words can make a world of difference.

https://www.ruok.org.au/top-3-ways-to-support-r-u-ok-in-2019

Jye Jeffrey and Timbo Wheeler with Thomas Davis

SEPTEMBER 26 Thomas Davis shaves his hair for local charity and leading Parkes Shire NDIS provider Currajong Disability Services.

It is typical of the man they call Tommy D for he has for as long as he has attended Currajong always put the organisation first.

“I wanted to do something that could make a real difference,” he said.

“So I thought about growing my hair and then shaving it to raise money for more resources for Currajong.

“Now it’s only 2 weeks away!”

The proceeds from Tommy D’s selfless act will go towards much needed stationary supplies for Currajong so the charity can continue to run a range of literacy and numeracy activities for its participants.

“I know what difference a bit of money can make to Currajong as I have seen other fundraising events do the same,” he said.

“Over my time here we’ve been able to get things like care chairs, musical instruments and other things.

“Plus there’s always something that needs replacing so I thought I’d do my bit.”

Tommy D’s dedication hasn’t gone unrecognised by staff and participants either.

“I think it’s a tremendous thing he is doing,” said Dane Millerd of Currajong.

“The reality is NDIS providers like us now have to look at things like fundraising a lot more seriously to remain above water.

“Every dollar counts and we are all very proud of Tommy D,” Dane said.

The shave for Currajong will take place September 26 at Currajong Disability Services.

Mal Smith, Sebastian Sadgrove and John Sarkissian at The Dish

CURRAJONG Disability Services client Sebastian Sadgrove has recently donated his masterpiece “Blue Dish” to the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope where it will be displayed inside the visitors centre with a plaque. For Sebastian, a budding artist, it is a dream come true.

“I am over the moon that this has happened,” said Sebastian.

“The support shown to me and autism in the Parkes and Central West by the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope has been phenomenal.

“They have been great contributors and backers of Autism Month every April so I thought I would sound them out regarding this painting being displayed there.”

For John Sarkissian, Operations Scientist CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, he couldn’t be more pleased by the initiative shown by Sebastian and Currajong.

“CDS (Currajong) and Angela Wilson from the Central West Autism & Special Needs Awareness Group contact CSIRO to light the dish blue in April each year for World Autism Month which we are more than happy to support,” said John.

“We try to do our bit for the local community.

“Especially when it comes to the support of important local charities like Currajong”.

Mal Smith, Site Leader at the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope concurred saying their organisation loved getting behind local groups.

“We love supporting local groups. We do our best for the local community,” he said.

“This is a unique painting and we love it!

“Thank you CDS and we will proudly and gladly display it in the visitors info centre here”.

With the 2020 instalment of World Autism Month fast approaching next April, no one will be more proud than Sebastian to see his painting showcased to world at the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope.

“It is a dream come true and hopefully I inspire others with autism and disabilities to achieve their goals too!”