Stellar Experiences creates social opportunities for young people with disabilities

What did you do on the weekend? You probably have lots of fun stories to share. But for young adults with disabilities, the answer to that question isn't always so positive.

"I used to come into work and say, 'What did everyone get up to on the weekend?'", said Bronte Hendricks, of her job as a disability support worker with a previous employer.

"And time after time they were sharing how confined they were in their family homes, not living a normal adult or teenager life."

Ms Hendricks and her business partner, Luke Muttdon, launched Cronulla-based Stellar Experiences two years ago to ensure young people with disabilities didn't have to spend lonely weekends at home.

The NDIS-listed service is now changing the lives of around 240 clients, dubbed 'guests', through supported social outings and travel for 16 to 35-year-olds.

"We want them to live like any other adult," Ms Hendricks said. "We've created this community they belong to, where they're living their best life."

Some of the other organisations I know wouldn't let you go swimming, but at Stellar they jump right in and swim with you.

Fraser King

Stellar Experiences provides one-on-one support, and a mid-week program of classes, but it's best-known for its 'experiences'.

From bungee jumping, skydiving, footy games, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge and swimming in the ocean, right through to trips interstate and even overseas (before COVID-19), the Stellar team prides itself for taking on almost any activity that its guests are keen to try out.

Ms Hendricks, who has been named this week's Leader Local Business Champion, was nominated by Fraser King from Cronulla, a guest and ambassador for the Stellar program.

While Mr King lives with autism, ADHD, anxiety and OCD, he said other guests came to the program with all different abilities including blindness, cerebral palsy and wheelchairs.

Bronte Hendricks and Stellar Experiences ambassador Fraser King. Picture: Supplied

Bronte Hendricks and Stellar Experiences ambassador Fraser King. Picture: Supplied

"[Ms Hendricks] saw that there was a need for young people with a disability to socialise, experience joy and happiness and attend many experiences that other young people take for granted," Mr King said.

"Every day, she does many good things to ensure that young people with a disability don't feel excluded or bullied in their lives."

Mr King called Ms Hendricks a "powerful mentor" and said in his experience, Stellar's offering was one-of-a-kind.

"Some of the other organisations I know wouldn't let you go swimming [for example], but at Stellar they jump right in and swim with you," he said.

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