Bridges has been able to employ an Inclusion Project Officer for a period of six months due to the generous contribution of the Knox City Council through their Community Development Fund Grant. This has allowed Bridges to bring specific expertise and skills to embed inclusive practices across the whole of the organisation. Bridges programs are designed to support independence and promote socialisation and targets people in our community who are at risk of isolation.
In the Aged Care Act 1997 the legislation identifies Special needs groups people who face greater challenges in receiving adequate, appropriate and accessible services.
Those groups are:
- people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
- people from non-English speaking (culturally and linguistically diverse – CALD) backgrounds;
- people who live in rural or remote areas;
- people who are financially or socially disadvantaged;
- people who are veterans, including the spouse, widow or widower of a veteran;
- people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless;
- people who are care leavers; and/or
- people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community.
While not a separate special needs group under the legislation, all home care providers should also have policies and practices that address the provision of care for people with dementia.
Our Project will focus on identifying and eliminating any barriers to entry for potential clients from the LGBTI and CALD community and ensure that our organisation is open, welcoming and inclusive to all eligible people seeking support. It is stated in the report “Ageing is Everyone’s Business” by the Commissioner for Seniors Victoria – “Due to the historical stigma and oppression experienced by older LGBTI people, there may be reluctance to engage in ‘mainstream’ social activities, fearing rejection and judgement by heterosexual older people, medical professionals and service providers. This can mean that they are not only likely to be at higher risk of loneliness and isolation, they may also be less likely to seek help or assistance.”
Bridges will strive to create an inclusive culture where everyone will feel comfortable and safe to be themselves whilst receiving services to support them to live at home.
From the words of Diane Richler, President of Inclusion International, “Inclusion is not a strategy to help people fit into the systems and structures which exists in our societies, it is about transforming those systems and structures to make it better for every. Inclusion is about creating a better world for everyone.”