ON a cold, wet July night 34 years ago, nearly 100 Swan View locals met to discuss the need for community support services for disabled people.
Fast forward to 2017 and Hills Community Support Group has morphed into Rise Network, a not-for-profit organisation with 330 staff, 70 volunteers, and 2000 clients.
It has a partnership with a variety of organisations and local governments across the metropolitan area, as well as Curtin University.
The group recently opened an office in Cockburn, providing a variety of services to clients, including those with a physical and intellectual disability: “[And] services for young people, people with mental health problems and aged care,” Cockburn operations manager Sarah Patterson says.
“We help people move out and live in their own home for the first time, get a driver’s licence for the first time, and find employment.
“We help them be fully recognised citizens of their own community.”
Mrs Patterson relates a heartwarming story of a 40-year-old man with an intellectual disability who wanted to move into his own home.
The organisation introduced him to men in similar circumstances over a coffee at a local cafe.
Following a few more get togethers they gelled: “To this day they call each other brothers,” Mrs Patterson says.
Rise doesn’t build houses, but finds homes for clients based on their needs and wants.
Services are similarly tailored and while men may enjoy fishing, camping, or just going out for fish and chips on a Friday night, women are more likely to go out dancing: “Things young people do,” Mrs Patterson says.
The organisation does have a respite home, but prefers to place staff in clients’ homes, avoiding the trauma of moving to an unfamiliar place.
For more information go to wwww.risenetwork.com.au or call 6274 3700.
by JENNY D’ANGER