By BRIDGET COOK
CITY of Casey Mayor Amanda Stapledon has an ambitious plan to raise awareness about disability issues, one step at a time.
Next month councillor Stapledon will trek 75 kilometres across Casey to raise awareness of the critical service gaps in the municipality facing people living with a disability and their carers.
Along the Mayor’s Walk for Disability, Cr Stapledon will stop at prominent community centres, organisations, businesses, services, educational institutions and landmarks to speak with the community and highlight these key issues.
The walk aims to secure a funding commitment from the State and Federal Governments to provide immediate, increased and improved services in Casey including early intervention, employment, supported accommodation and respite.
Cr Stapledon will also encourage people to support their local disability service with donations or volunteering their time along the way.
Cr Stapledon said when she was elected mayor she made a commitment to focus and campaign on issues of social justice.
“I will be walking in August to honour my promise to the city, and I encourage the community to join me and help generate support for critical service gaps facing Casey residents with disability and their carers,” she said.
Of Casey’s 270,000 residents, more than 10,000 people report needing help in their day-to-day lives due to disability.
There are currently more than 20,000 people in Casey who provide unpaid assistance or care to people with disability and more than 2000 of those are aged over 65.
Cr Stapledon said the area required immediate, increased and improved access to support services for people in the community, requiring or providing care due to disability.
“This includes, respite care options, early interventions service, local support programs, access to employment opportunities, supported accommodation and support options for ageing carers,” she said.
“Research shows that increased participation of people with disability, their family and carers in community life can improve personal wellbeing, community access, participation, social networks and decision making for people with a disability.
“It also allows carers to better meet the needs of their other family members, engage in or maintain employment and be an active member of the community.”
Cr Stapledon urged the community to get behind her walk and join her when they could.
“I am inviting residents, visitors, organisations and concerned members of the public to join me on the walk or meet with me to show your support at one or more stopping points throughout the journey,” she said.
“People who are unable to participate in the walk can still show their support by writing to their local member of Parliament or offering to help local disability services through donations or volunteering.”
The walk will kick off on Monday 5 August and finish on Friday 16 with a celebration at Blairlogie Living and Learning in Pearcedale.
For a full itinerary of the Mayor’s Walk for Disability or to find out more visit www.casey.vic.gov.au/mayorswalkfordisability.