"A community strengthened by the inclusion of all"
Chief Executive Officer
Deb Rouget is the current CEO of Belonging Matters. She was an integral part of the development of Belonging Matters in 2003 (originally known as Personal Lifestyle Assistance - PLA). Deb has been keen to steer Belonging Matters into a sustainable organisation that is ethically driven, raises consciousness and enables individuals with a disability to enjoy a fulfilling life that is well embedded in community, contribution, relationship, equality and citizenship. Deb has also been keen to foster advances that prevent segregation and leave people who have a disability and their families with greater control over their lives. She has been particularly interested in capacity building and the development of various grass roots collectives that are governed by the people and families who use them.
Deb has spent over 30 years supporting adults who have a disability and families in various capacities and has direct family experience of what its like to support loved one's with mental health needs and disability. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Intellectual Disability, presents at various seminars and conferences and consults nationally and internationally on efforts that search for genuine social inclusion and personcentredness.
Phone: 0412 001388
Carmine has worked in the disability sector since 1993, in roles including individual support, education and management. He has focused most of his efforts in designing and implementing more progressive services that focus on addressing the fundamental needs of people that seek to be of genuine value I their lives. Carmine holds a B.A, Grad Dip Education (2ndry), Grad Dip Special Education. His interests include (unsuccessfully) gardening and fishing.
Events Organiser/Administrative Assistant
Caroline Towers has been working with Belonging Matters since 2018 and has almost 10 years of experience working alongside a person with intellectual disability. Caroline has assisted this family with a young adult to have an inclusive life within their local community and to assist this family member, through their own Circle of Support, to create their own micro-business around their interests, likes and passions.
Caroline also shares her experience of circles through her role as facilitator of a Circle of Support for Building Community Networks, with Belonging Matters. Caroline has seen first hand, the innovative ideas and creative thinking that can be encouraging, supportive and truly assistive towards creating a good life for people who experience disability.
Emily is employed as a childcare assistant and school crossing supervisor. She is also employed by Belonging Matters as an office assistant and has written a couple of articles for Belonging Matters' periodical. Emily has just moved out of home and is loving life in her new unit in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. She is passionate about Melbourne Football Club and a member of their cheer squad!
Video Producer/Publisher/Web Designer
Owen has worked for Belonging Matters since 2011 in which he has been a Co-Director, Cameraman, Editor, Web Site Developer and Desk Top Publisher. Throughout his time with Belonging Matters his major projects have included “Can You Believe It: Dee’s Place” a short Video clip produced for the Australian Human Rights Commission (20 Years, 20 Stories), the development of Belonging Matters’ new video resource “Talks That Matter”, re-development of Belonging Matters’ web site (including online purchasing and booking mechanisms) and publishing Belonging Matters’ periodical “Thinking about…” Owen is the Founding Director of In Any Weather Video Productions. He has a BA Computing & Information Systems and Honours Computing (Monash).
Phone: 0403 586 476
Building Community Networks Facilitator
Teresa’s has always chosen to work in small not for profit agencies on the cutting edge of change in community, and has worked alongside people with disabilities and their families for over 20 years. Her personal mission is “Empowering positive, expansive and life changing experiences, interactions and realities embedded within community and held together by belonging”.
Teresa is excited by the work of Belonging Matters, who have been a great mentor in her support of Living Distinctive Lives families over the last 9 years, and is currently engaged as a consultant to them in the development of the Building Community Networks Project. She is always inspired by the power, creativity and resilience of people who experience disability and their families and networks of support, and has seen in just a short time the incredible impact that engaging positively with these networks can have in the creation of a good life, in developing and upholding vision, and in safeguarding the future.
Community Employment Partnership (CEP) Project Manager
Pat joined Belonging Matters in 2019 as the Community Employment Partnership (CEP) Project Manager. The project’s aim is to adapt and replicate the successful Alberta Rotary partnership and develop a partnership with local Service groups, to create employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Pat has worked in disability for over 20 years and has a Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Disability Studies. Her previous roles have included supporting people to transition out of traditional day supports, to create valued roles in their local communities, through customised employment or volunteering. She has also previously supported school leavers to participate in inclusive post school education, volunteering or work opportunities. In the last couple of years she has supported individuals and their families to navigate the transition to the NDIS.
Pat has volunteered extensively overseas in Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and Thailand, enjoys travelling, and teaching her dog, so far unsuccessfully, to stand up paddleboard.
Community Employment Partnership (CEP) Project Manager
Jenny is a member of the Community Employment Partnership (CEP) Project team. The project’s aim is to adapt and replicate the successful Alberta Rotary partnership and develop a partnership with local Service groups, to create employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities and Autism. Jenny has extensive experience as a leading educator and career specialist, with senior teaching roles in secondary schools, and post-school partnership coordination with a key focus on creating successful school to work transitions for young people with a disability. Jenny holds a Graduate Certificate in Careers Practitioner Practice, and strongly believes that everyone can and should have access to a working future to reach their goals.
Individualised Living Options Mentor
Bec is working on a project to assist people with an intellectual disability and Autism and their families to explore Individualised Living Options. She provides mentoring and advice for people who would like to move into their own home with a range of supports, rather than live in a group home.
Currently Bec also works in disability advocacy, including supporting people to self-advocate and to build richer lives through identifying and following their interests and passions, fostering community connections, finding avenues for peer support and mentoring, and volunteering.
She was a founding board member of the not-for-profit charity Neighbourhood Connect
and has a passion for local community and the connections, care and sense of belonging that can make magic happen in and around people’s homes, neighbourhoods and local communities.
In her spare time, Bec enjoys catching live music, theatre and mostly healthy cooking.
Sarah-Jayne is excited to be involved with the Belonging Matters Advisory Council (BMAC), which has been established to support people with a disability to have their voice heard as well as to be driver for the Belonging Matter’s strategic direction, quality improvement and program effectiveness. Her role also includes supporting the work of the Board and the CEO.
Sarah-Jayne believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live a meaningful life and be connected and involved within their local community and has experience working with people with a disability in a range of settings including open employment and work experience.
Sarah-Jayne enjoys being involved in a local not-for-profit organisation in a voluntary capacity as well as spending time with friends and family and undertaking creative pursuits.