Analysis gives hope to carers
A NEW university research project examining the needs of disabled people in Warwick is offering hope to local carers.
Warwick and District Disability Support Group (WDDSG) president Peter Stacy announced this week his group had received vital government funding for a disability needs analysis survey.
“Our group has been lobbying for funding for this research project for three years and finally we have got lucky,” he said.
More than $29,800 has been offered to the WDDSG from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund for the survey.
Mr Stacy said this would be the first time a comprehensive disability needs analysis survey had been undertaken around the Warwick region.
“We really need this information so we can lobby government to improve or develop specific services here,” he said.
“It will give us a comprehensive understanding of what disabled people of different ages and stages need in terms of local support and infrastructure.
“In the past we have written reports and talked to people but what has been missing – until now – is hard data.”
He said the survey would be undertaken by the University of Queensland.
“There will be questionnaires people can fill in without giving their names or addresses,” Mr Stacy said.
“University researchers will then do follow up interviews with anyone wishing to discuss their needs or particular situation in more detail.”
UQ postdoctoral research fellow Jenny Moffatt said the survey had the potential to become a powerful tool for organisations like WDDSG to lobby government.
“I congratulate the WDDSG on securing funding for this research because I realise how important it is to have hard data,” Dr Moffatt said.
“Governments tend to understand numbers.”
The research project reference group will include WDDSG members, as well as representatives from the Endeavour Foundation, the Southern Downs Regional Council and the Department of Communities.
Mr Stacy said the project, which was expected to take between six and seven months, would initially focus on the former Warwick Shire area.
“But if there are people caring for family members with disabilities from outside that area we would sincerely welcome their input,” he said.
A passionate disability services advocate, Mr Stacy said the survey offered hope for those people caring for family members or friends with special needs.
“My wife Christine and I are the full-time carers of our son Leigh, who has Down syndrome,” he said.
“Being part of this survey gives us a chance to have our say and to assemble some statistics we can use to lever government to improve the future for people like Leigh.”
He said the data collated during the survey would be available to other Warwick organisations representing people with disabilities.
For more information or to be part of the WDDSG disability needs analysis survey contact 4667 1909 or 0408 674 634 or firstname.lastname@example.org