1800 954 294
Contact us
Join now

Build your own community

Children play tug of war.

Your local park, an art studio, a university, or the foreshore of a lake or beach. How many of these places could be home to great community supports?

We know the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has been life changing for people with disability, their families and loved ones. We also know participants are encouraged to access mainstream services so they’re better included in the everyday life of Australia.

This means that, in addition to the supports and services people with disability access through the Scheme, they also have opportunities to actively engage with the people, spaces, activities, and events in their area.

Don’t get us wrong, disability supports absolutely have their place, but we all know that the more we’re connected to our community, the broader our social and support networks will be, and that’s better for everyone.

So, to get you started, we checked in with our own networks and compiled a list of seven great suggestions to help you start building your own community.

#1. Leverage your local government authority

Known for fixing the roads, maintaining local parks, and organising your kerbside waste collection, local government authorities – or councils, as most people call them – offer loads more for the community. You just need to go looking!

Week in, week out, councils across the country organise markets, street fairs, fitness classes, exhibitions, repair cafes, and community programs, and they run local libraries too!

Go to the search bar on your council’s website and type in ‘what’s on’ to bring up a calendar of events and activities. You’ll be amazed at everything that’s happening in your community.

Hot tip: check out the calendars of neighbouring councils too. If you’re willing to travel a little distance, there’s no limit to what you can experience!

If you’re not tech-savvy, or you’d prefer to speak with someone directly, visit your council’s offices, go to the local library, or give one or both a call. Council staff will be only too happy to point you in the right direction.

#2. Explore local Facebook community group

Facebook community groups are places where locals come together to trade ideas, share updates, and ask for advice.

Through groups ranging from hyper-local networks for your street, to suburb collectives, and online discussion boards for the wider region you live in, you can find a wealth of information and support.

When we dived into our own groups, we discovered everything from information about upcoming markets, youth groups, local fitness clubs and craft groups, to book clubs, volunteer programs, coffee catch ups and knitting circles – so jump online and see what’s on offer in your area.

And don’t discount your ‘Buy Nothing’ groups either – these groups stay super local to encourage easy drop off and pick up of free goods in your area. Not only are they a great way to move on items you don’t use any more, put your hand up for things being gifted, or ask for stuff you might need, but Buy Nothing groups often share news about free or low-cost local events and activities too.

#3. Enjoy the great outdoors with Parkrun

Parkrun is a free community event where you can walk, jog, run, volunteer, or spectate. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s for everyone – and that means there are plenty of opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved in a positive, welcoming and inclusive community.

Almost 500 Parkrun events take place around Australia every weekend and you can find out more about them here. Organisers are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults at risk, and the Parkrun website has lots of information about that too.

Parkrun is a great place to get outdoors, meet new people, and get your endorphins flowing. If accessibility is required, make sure to check with organisers first to find out about your local event and the track it covers.

#4. Find out what’s happening at your nearest university or TAFE

This is an underrated one – lots of universities and TAFE campuses host student concerts, exhibitions, or free talks, and some even run programs that provide low-cost hair and beauty services or cooking school dining experiences delivered by students (under supervision, of course!).

Find something you’re passionate about or just go with an open mind – you never know what you’ll experience!

And who doesn’t like a cut-price concert, meal or haircut?

#5. Unlock your inner tourist

Check out your state tourism authority for things to see and do. You might become aware of events you hadn’t heard of before and you can usually find things that are free or low-cost to try.

Don’t discount the power of suggestion. Sometimes things that have been right under our noses the whole time can be forgotten about and it takes seeing them through the eyes of a tourist to make us appreciate them!

#6. Come and try… whatever sparks your interest

This is such a hack – open a browser on your computer or phone and start searching for ‘come and try days’ in your state or territory to see what’s on offer. Most come and try events are free or low-cost and you could find your new favourite hobby!

Make sure you pay attention to your online search terms. Some words you might want include are:

  • Inclusive
  • Free
  • Accessible
  • Your town or suburb
  • Your state or territory

If you get stuck, consider heading to your local library to ask your friendly librarian for help. Think about calling ahead in case you need to make a time to visit them.

Most come and try days advertise the accessibility of the activity, but if you’re not sure, just reach out to the organisers.

#7. Volunteering helps you and it helps others too

Have you ever thought about giving your time to others, but wondered how to get involved? Look no further – Volunteering Australia has got you covered.

We took a quick peek at the opportunities available and found everything from tutoring and telephone crisis support through to fundraising and working in a volunteer kitchen.

Sharing skills, building connections, and giving and receiving support – we can’t think of a better foundation for any community!

Be a little bit brave

Trying something new can be nerve wracking! That’s human nature. New things are exciting, but excitement and anxiety can often feel the same way.

When you’re participating in your new experience, remember to:

  • keep an open mind – don’t prejudge an activity or its community before you give it a chance
  • be comfortable being a beginner and remember the power of the word ‘yet’ – for example, ‘I’m not good at quilting YET’
  • think about the benefits – like what’s good about trying something new, such as the chance to develop a new skill or make new connections
  • exercise your new experience muscle – hopefully, you’ll get more comfortable in new spaces as you try things
  • take little steps – build up slowly to more challenging experiences
  • seek out and find your tribe – look for supportive people or another friend who’ll join you in your new quests
Featured: My Community

Creating a fair and inclusive Australia – one partnership at a time

Some Aussie icons are even better when they're paired together. And that's true for My Plan Manager and Special Olympics Australia.

Build your own community

Here's seven opportunities for people with disability to connect with the people, spaces, activities, and events in their area.

Art for everyone

Great art makes the audience feel something – and for collaborators Grace Colsey (they/them) and Jaziel ‘Jazz’ Siegertsz (he/him), they want their audience to feel seen, connected and inspired.
Featured: My Resources

What’s an NDIS nominee and what do they do?

If you're a participant aged 18 or older and find it difficult to make decisions, a nominee can support you.

Our client portal putting you in the driver’s seat

Our client portal is a powerful tool that puts you in the driver’s seat of your NDIS journey.

Knowledge is power: what you need to know up front to get the most out of your NDIS plan

We’ve gathered the information you need to know from the beginning of your NDIS journey, so you can get the most out of your NDIS plan.
You may also like...
A sports team of young children put their hands together at the centre of their huddle.

Creating a fair and inclusive Australia – one partnership at a time

Some Aussie icons are even better when they're paired together. And that's true for My Plan Manager and Special Olympics Australia.
Children play tug of war.

Build your own community

Here's seven opportunities for people with disability to connect with the people, spaces, activities, and events in their area.
Creative producer and performer, Grace Colsey, performs with a ukulele on a dimly lit stage.

Art for everyone

Great art makes the audience feel something – and for collaborators Grace Colsey (they/them) and Jaziel ‘Jazz’ Siegertsz (he/him), they want their audience to feel seen, connected and inspired.

Subscribe

Stay up to date with the latest information, updates and NDIS news. Sign up to our e-news today.
For disability sector participants, supporters and advocates.
Subscribe now
For service providers, intermediaries and industry partners.
Subscribe now
NDIS provider number: 405 000 1826

My Plan Manager acknowledges the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

My Plan Manager acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.
© My Plan Manager 2024 | Privacy | Terms of Use
arrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram