The Snowy Monaro’s largest locally based disability and aged care provider, Cooma Challenge, has announced the opening of a Jindabyne office, located in the Snowy Mountains Neighbourhood Centre.
“We saw a significant need for a local service in Jindaybyne,” says recently appointed CEO Darren Carr, “and the community has been very welcoming.”
Currently, Coordinator Peter Wilson works from the Neighbourhood Centre every Wednesday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm but the organisation plans to expand his hours and the amount of staff as needed.
“After three years of coordinating services for Cooma clients, I am excited that we are now seeking to provide more services to people in Jindabyne and surrounding areas. Our goal is to support people to live the life they choose,” says Peter.
The Jindabyne expansion follows the organisation branching into Bombala last year. According to Darren, these local offices save everyone time and money.
“In Bombala, we heard from people with an NDIS plan who were having support workers travel up to two hours, which meant much of their funding package was being consumed by travel and transports costs.”
Noting with a laugh that “it would be lovely if we all had neat, orderly lives, but we don’t and people with disability are no different,” Darren says that the organisation recognises that where there is a need for a careworker, it is often an immediate need.
“Our local coordinators always meet face-to-face with our program participants,” Darren explains. “Having local staff means we can be more responsive and flexible to the needs of our participants.”
Challenge currently employs about 100 people across the Snowy Monaro and aims to increase the number of local workers as they expand.
The community has responded enthusiastically to both the type of care offered by Cooma Challenge and to the high calibre of its local staff, with their Bombala coordinator Trudi Marrapodi winning the Outstanding Young Employee Award at the recent Snowy Monaro Business Awards.
The organisation as a whole won the category Excellence In Inclusive Employment.
“We provide a wide array of services and part of what we do is employment enterprise,” Darren says. “We have a program specifically for school leavers with a disability and a community participation program.”
Cooma Challenge also provides housing and respite care services for both people with an NDIS plan and the elderly.
“One of the things we are looking at is creating more group homes,” Darren explains. “There is not a huge need at the moment but we see that enough of our participants might need this kind of service in the future.”
While the organization is conservatively planning for slow and steady growth from their Jindabyne branch, Darren says that experience shows that once the community gets to know about Cooma Challenge and what they do, they’ll see a sharp spike in demand for services.
“If Jindabyne is anything like Bombala, we’ll have a full-time coordinator there in 12-18 months,” Darren predicts.
Cooma Challenge is holding two information sessions on Monday, August 5 at the Jindabyne Bowling Club. At the 3 pm session, there will be information for people wanting to access NDIS Services, while at 6 pm, there is a session for people interested in working for the organisation.
For further information, interested people can contact Cooma Challenge on 6452 2156.