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Currajong Chairman Neil Unger

POPULAR throughout Europe where temperatures are often much colder than Australia, bio-bricks may soon be a popular source of heat in Australia if Currajong Chairman Neil Unger has his way.

“We are currently doing a proof of concept and sourcing equipment such as mixers to go with the hammer mill and scales we already have,” said Neil.

“While we still have a raft of tests to conduct to ensure we get the moisture balance right (15%) we aim to go from about 50kgs produced per hour up one-and-a-half tonnes per hour.

“The press would also be operating 24 hours a day,” he said.

The bio-bricks consist not just of shredded paper waste but also sawdust, waste timber, cardboard and woodchips culminating in the bio-brick (pictured above).

“There’s a real opportunity here for us,” Neil said.

“It will take some time but when we move into our new premises we will have more options.

“Then we can see of the boat floats!”

We hope it floats too!

Shannon Miller and Jason Godden enjoyed IDPwD at Forbes Olympic Pool

FORBES Olympic Pool was awash with fun and games on Tuesday as Forbes celebrated the International Day for People with Disability (IDPwD).

Forbes Shire Council and Currajong Disability Services teamed up with Aruma and other NDIS provider to celebrate the annual day with a series of fun activities. It is the second time that these groups have come together to host this key event.

Dane Millerd from Currajong Disability Services said it was a fantastic day and was bigger and better than last year.

“It was a great day to celebrate what is a big day on the disability calendar.”

Mr Millerd said the day was great in that it allows people to recognise people with disabilities for what they are and can do, rather than what they can’t.

Ruth Cole from Aruma said even though the water was quite cold in the pool, everyone enjoyed the day and the range of activities on offer.

Ms Cole said they would like to thank Forbes Shire Council for helping to organise the events at the Olympic Pool.

Tim Wheeler from Currajong Disability Service said it was a great event to take part in that’s only gotten better and better.

For Dearnne Callaghan and Cherie Lovett, the day was an excellent day out and allowed many different groups to come together and have fun.

Mr Millerd said he would like to thank the Forbes Shire Council, particularly Sarah and Kimberly, for all of their work on the day.

Jarrad Simpson and Debbie Hewitt

Living with a disability can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living life to the fullest. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is revolutionising the way Australians with disabilities identify the supports they need to live their life. It’s all about supporting you today and into the future, to improve outcomes throughout your entire lifetime.

So where’s a good place to start when thinking about where you’d like the NDIS to take you?

Set your goals
What do you want to achieve in the next year or so? It might seem overwhelming at first, but setting up some basic goals will provide you with a steady pathway to to do things you never thought possible.

The best place to start is to think about what you enjoy doing. Your goals could include learning how to cook, joining a community group or even finding a job that’s right for you. With the introduction of the NDIS, you can now get the funding and support you need to make it happen and achieve your goals – your way.

Get active
Perhaps one of your goals is to improve your health and become more active. Whether you’re naturally competitive, want to get fit, join a team sport for fun or just try something new, there’s so many benefits to getting out there and being active. Involvement in any sport or recreational activity can positively impact your health, strength and wellbeing.

Build your connections and confidence
Having a personal support network around you outside of your immediate circle is great when you want someone else to talk to and share experiences with.
Expand your social network and make lifelong friends with people who share similar interests, by getting involved in your local community. Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people, and it’s amazing what new skills you will pick up along the way, that could even pave the way to finding a new career.

It’s the start of something really good
So much more is possible when you are in control and are able to make choices that impact your life.
There’s a lot to think about, but you don’t have to go it alone. Not-for-profit services like Leap in! have been started to help NDIS participants understand how the scheme works, to assist you with planning and goal setting in readiness for your NDIS Plan meeting and as a NDIS- registered plan manager, to help you keep track of your spending and finances.

If you or someone you care for is the one in every five Australians with a disability and need help to navigate the NDIS, Leap in! can help you to live the life you want to live. Head to the website to download their free NDIS Planning app, chat online with a plan manager or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.

Pat Nolan and Kym Weaver had a ball at last years IPwDD festivities in Forbes


FORBES Shire Council and Currajong Disability Services have teamed up with other NDIS providers to recognise International Day of People with Disability on December 3 with a series of events at the Forbes Memorial Pool. It is the second time in as many years both groups have come together to stage this key event.

“We are extremely happy to have Currajong involved again,” said Sarah Williams of Forbes Shire Council.

“Last year was such an outstanding success with the coverage second to none.

“So it made sense to do it all again.”

The event will not just be a celebration of people with a disability but also a chance for other providers and organisations to connect and share experiences and ideas.

“We are really excited about it and have some great things planned,” said Sarah.

IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day that is celebrated internationally. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

The Australian Government has been supporting IDPwD since 1996 and provides funds to promote and raise awareness of the day around Australia.

John Carey of Currajong with players from the French Rugby League team

THE FRENCH Rugby League side took time out from their busy schedule to have morning tea with participants from Currajong Disability Services this week ahead of their mouth-watering clash with the crème de la creme of the Western Region. (France went on and won the clash 22-20 over Western at Jock Colley Field in Parkes).

The French, who boast Super League and top flight experience, were more than glad to interact, chat to and play with participants in a number of football passing games and it wasn’t long before Currajong clients soon took centre stage.

“The Chanticleers have had a jam packed promotional schedule since arriving in Parkes last weekend with Currajong being one of our most important,” said team manager Tas Baitieri.

“We’ve had visits to Peak Hill, Trundle, Forbes and Manildra during our four day stop in the region.

“Yet it’s moments like this that will live long in the memories of our squad,” Tas said.

Currajong’s Timbo Wheeler echoed the sentiments of the French.

“I think it’s great they came and saw us,” said Timbo Wheeler of Currajong.

“It makes us feel special.

“They are really good people and we liked having morning tea with them and playing footy games,” he said.

No doubt that the memories will live in the minds of our Currajong participants too!

“Our guys loved it!” said Indigo Kriedemann.

“They all had a blast and most love their footy.

“So meeting these stars is a big thing for our participants,” Indigo said.

Bonjour Chanticleers and thank you for taking time out to visit us and we can’t wait to do it all again soon!

Patty, Dan and Jesse

IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day that is celebrated internationally. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate their achievements and contributions.

The Australian Government has been supporting IDPwD since 1996 and provides funds to promote and raise awareness of the day around Australia.

Information on how individuals and organisations can get involved in the day and how to break down barriers (both structural and attitudinal) for people with disability can be found on this website.

The annual International Day of People with Disability theme

Each year the UN announces a theme to observe for International Day of People with Disability. The annual theme provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability. This has been occurring since 1992 when the General Assembly proclaimed 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons.

The theme for International Day of People with Disability for 2018 was ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’. According to the United Nations, 2018’s theme was about empowering people with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020

In Australia, the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 commits all governments to a nationwide approach aimed at improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers. The Strategy’s ten-year national framework for reform focuses on better inclusion for people with disability and seeks to create a society that enables people with disability to fulfil their potential as equal citizens.

Today, countries all around the world celebrate the day.

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 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!”