IDPwD: Achieving goals for the future we want

As a local services provider, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning (CatholicCare) prides itself on working in and around our community.

Accordingly, on this International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), CatholicCare was proud to take part in celebrations organised by Lake Macquarie City Council, The City of Newcastle and Disability Network Hunter to commemorate this special day. Our staff and the people we support were excited to attend planned festivities at Speers Point Park, where there were information stalls, displays, activities, entertainment and a barbecue lunch.

IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day, held annually on 3 December, to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability.

This year, the theme for IDPwD was Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want, which draws attention to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and how these goals can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

CatholicCare provides a range of disability programs designed to ensure that children, young people and adults with disabilities have access to services that help create a more inclusive and equitable world for them. For us, success is building capacity and delivering on empowerment opportunities for the people we support. Their goal is our focus. We provide tailored support with a strong focus on helping people with disabilities live as independently as possible in the community. Attending events such as IDPwD celebrations at Speers Point Park, providing guidance on how to use public transport or facilitating involvement in sporting activities and employment are just some of the ways we achieve this.

CatholicCare focuses on a number of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly good health and well-being and assisting people with disabilities achieve quality education outcomes. We seek actively to assist children, young people and adults with disabilities to achieve these goals through the provision of a range of disability services, including Disability Supported Accommodation. In 2015 we expanded our services to include autism and cognitive assessments, thereby increasing community access to and awareness of health, well-being and education options available to people with disability. The addition of this service has been fundamental to ‘opening doors’ for the people we support, exposing them to services that can enhance their ability to interact socially and improve understanding and functioning in all settings − personal relationships, school and work.

CatholicCare’s team of registered psychologists and mental health workers provides progressive psycho-social support and where appropriate, works with the individual to develop community programs that promote access to the education, health and well-being services chosen by the client with a disability. Importantly, we work from a ‘strengths-based’ approach and provide ongoing support to achieve optimal outcomes.

CatholicCare’s progressive approach is client-centred. Our services, including our disability services, are accessible to those in need regardless of religion, age, gender, physical and intellectual capacity or ethnicity. As a continuous improvement organisation we use current, evidence-based practices to inform our program delivery models and seek new and innovative ways to benefit the community we serve.  I’d encourage anyone interested in learning more about our range of services to make contact with our friendly team by contacting our office or introducing yourself to us at one of the many community events in which we participate.

Gary Christensen is General Operations Manager, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning.

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Gary Christensen

Gary Christensen is the Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. Please visit

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