Reason to smile as Kurranulla Aboriginal Centre gets major boost

Excursions await: Kurranulla's Aboriginal aged care and disability worker Larissa McEwen with her client, Aunty Loyla Lotaniu, a Torres Strait Islander resident of the community who will benefit from the funding grant. Picture: John Veage
Excursions await: Kurranulla's Aboriginal aged care and disability worker Larissa McEwen with her client, Aunty Loyla Lotaniu, a Torres Strait Islander resident of the community who will benefit from the funding grant. Picture: John Veage

A provider of Aboriginal disability services in St George and Sutherland Shire has launched into the new year with a major gift – more than half a million dollars.

Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation is receiving $547,905 – a substantial amount that will help the highly-valued service expand support to clients with disabilities under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The service secured a grant under the ‘Making It Our Business’ program to specifically deliver culturally appropriate support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Kurranulla, based at Jannali, has been operating in St George and the Shire since 1991.

The new funds will assist in creating a new service called ‘Making Tracks Through Your NDIS Journey’ – a service that will provide more direct service hours, accessible transport and other NDIS support services.

It also means another 10 staff can be employed to take on more clients.

Kurranulla manager Leanne Trindall says the money is “very much needed”.

“We are delighted,” Ms Trindall said. “The new service will enable our staff to give more personal support to our clients including helping them manage their finances efficiently and coordinate ancillary services that we may not provide.

“Our staff will also help them with domestic tasks like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house or taking them shopping or to their regular therapy.

“The grant will allow us to employ a marketing manager to develop our website and produce brochures to attract new clients.”

She says the centre has been providing some NDIS services for almost a year, but more money was needed to ensure they have the necessary resources to move “full steam ahead.”

One of the clients who will benefit, is Aunty Loyla Lotaniu, who has a spinal injury. 

“We didn’t have the staff or vehicle to use to assist Aunt to get out and about in the community and visit friends, family as well as attend important health appointments,” Ms Trindall said.

Her support worker, Larissa McEwen, says Aunty Loyla can now enjoy more outings, to take a break from respite care.

“She loves going out and about,” Ms McEwen said. “We go into town, and she likes to go to lunch and do her shopping. She loves being around people. Otherwise she just stays in bed all day.”

Miranda MP Eleni Petinos announced the funding this week. 

“We’re backing NSW businesses with grants and mentoring to help them scale-up and deliver new services for the NDIS and we want more Aboriginal businesses involved,” Ms Petinos said.

“It’s vitally important Aboriginal businesses participate as they are best placed to deliver culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal people with disability.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, says the program is part of the $19 million Disability Sector Scale-Up that is designed to help businesses and communities maximise benefits from the NDIS roll-out.

“The NDIS has the potential to double the size of the disability support sector in NSW from around $3.4 billion to $6.8 billion over the coming years,” Mr Barilaro said.

Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams, says the grants ensure that Aboriginal organisations operating in the disability space have the necessary resources to service their clients effectively and efficiently.

“Some of these organisations are already doing great work in the disability space and the grant will help them expand and create jobs while for others the funds will enable them to enter the sector to support and improve the quality of life for Aboriginal people with disability,” Mr Williams said.

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