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Twenty Years Twenty Stories

The Twenty years, Twenty Stories project celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act. As part of this project Dee Holmes’ story was included. To celebrate, on Friday 1st of March, 2013, Dee and Deb Rouget attended the launch at Admiralty House, Kirribilli.

Dee’s story illustrates how she lives in her own home with a range of support and how she belongs to her local community. We would like to express our thanks to the Australian Human Rights Commission, The Sydney Community Foundation, The Australian Community Foundation and the many other sponsors.

A very special thank-you to Owen Hourigan from In Any Weather Productions for capturing Dee’s story so wonderfully and co-producing the clip with Belonging Matters!  If you would like to view Dee’s story please click on the link below.

Image of - Dee Holmes
Dee's Story - My Own Flat in My Local Community

In 2003 Dee packed her bags and said that she wanted to move out of home. However as Dee has an intellectual and psychiatric disability it seemed the only option offered was to move into a group home. So when Dee said that she didn’t want to live with people with a disability she and her parents had to think of another option.
Dee’s mother Jackie met with Deb Rouget of PLA and they came up with a model of support that could see Dee achieve her goal and have the supports that she needs. Together they put in a submission to DHS for an Innovation in Accommodation Grant. In this application they outlined the vision for Living Distinctive Lives - a small family governed group that would together develop and create a way for individuals with a disability to live an ordinary life in the community in a home of their own.
This application was successful and over the last few years Dee, her parents and a small group of other families have been finding innovative ways to achieve their goals.
Dee used to attend a day program. Although she liked some parts of the program she found herself wanting to pursue experiences in her local community. Once a week, Dee has work experience at a local food outlet (Healthy Wraps). She is learning all about work ethics - what is appropriate and what is not. Her boss has worked out a job description for her, listing all the tasks she has to complete. She started with one task - putting stickers onto their take away containers. She now has about 20 tasks, including taking the chairs of the tables, wiping the tables down, filling the containers holding the serviettes, cutlery etc. Her boss has told her that she is now "part 
of the team". She now wears a uniform and has been placed on the roster. Dee is really thrilled about this opportunity. Her self esteem has improved so much. And as a bonus she gets a free drink each session and a free meal every second week. Dee has a Support Worker with her (mainly to keep her focused and also teaching her the work ethics as Dee has had few work experiences).

Dee still goes to the gym three times a week. Once a month a man who works at the gym comes over and goes for a bike ride with Dee - "just as a friend". She has also done some volunteer work at the Cancer Foundation on Daffodil Week and also at the Variety Club Christmas Party which she loved. They have said she is welcome to come and help out again next Christmas. Dee has become very well known at her local shopping strip. She goes to the local Italian restaurant once a week for dinner and can hardly walk down the street without bumping into a multitude of people she knows. She has been a member of a community choir for a few years. She still sometimes goes to choir, although she is getting a bit tired of this now. She also goes and visits the local opportunity shops and gets her hair washed at the local hairdresser each week, (she struck up a great deal!). She is thinking of doing pottery at a local Community Centre.

Today Dee is packing her bags again, but this time she has a place to go - her own flat in her local community. Dee secured the lease on her flat in 2009 and since then has been spending more and more time there, struggling to overcome her anxiety but always determined to achieve her goal. Dee has been supported in this journey by her family, a circle of support, Living Distinctive Lives and by Belonging Matters.

Image 0f - Dee'smCircle of Support

'Deezines' is a home made range of personalised gift cards which Dee manages with the assistance of her circle of support.

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