Staff Login

Communities – Sue Gould

June 3rd, 2015

The oxford dictionary describes Community as a “particular area or place, considered together with it’s inhabitants”.

I want to start by asking you a question:

“What lasting influence does your organisation have on your clients and your local community?”

I grew up in rural New Zealand within a large community of like minded people. Predominantly rural and dairy focused, I have memories of large families always being around to help when the ‘big’ jobs needed doing.

I specifically remember a time when my father was injured and neighbours rallied to milk our cows on a rotation basis. The fridge was filled with casseroles and the tins with baking from generous wives who knew the struggles a mother had looking after 4 kids, an injured husband and a dairy farm.  It was a period where labour, equipment, knowledge and information was shared willingly and without a cost attached.

As an adult a few (oh okay…many) years later, when I meet up with people who shared those experiences with me, I found their view of what happened, was so different from mine.  It proved to me that from an early age, what we experience tints the lens through which we view our world.  It is an interesting finding. How could this happen when we ate the same food, played the same games, shared the same social space?

Everyone has a different view and opinion about the world around them. People living with a disability have a view that is different from the world I experience and see.  Often these views can look sad, isolated and become very internalised due to the small space they reside in.  The result can develop into placing a dependency on other people – often carers – to ensure they are protected and safe.  Their social group then dwindles even more to just a family base.  Their communal involvement outside this realm is very limited. YET this does not have to be the norm.

As organisations who provide services to people who live with disabilities, we CAN provide clients with a range of positively wired opportunities.  But the change has to come from within our moral business values and mission.  As we strive to meet the needs of so many people, we often focus too much of the ‘business of the day’, rather than the relationships and the person contacts that make up our business on a daily basis. Is it a possibility that by doing this, we may further alienate those who rely on our services? I think this is worth investigating.

So this weeks theme is based around communities that are full of people, places, experiences, opinions and perceptions.

What lasting images does your organisation or group leave…..?