Local service profile: Holdsworth Community

2 February 2017 | Posted In: #131 Summer 2017, Disability – National Disability Insurance Scheme, Disability Services, Human Service Delivery, | Author: Miguel Lane-Mullins

Holdsworth Community has a long history of supporting people living with intellectual disabilities across the eastern suburbs and City of Sydney. Miguel Lane-Mullins looks at some of the support changes for people with disabilities living in the area.

Holdsworth Community is not just a supplier of services for people with disabilities, it is also a major local provider of supports for older people, carers and children and families. It is also part of the community with a community café, community space and opportunities for volunteers. It helps people access services such as community transport, home delivered meals and room hire for hosting private events.

Apart from preparing for the rollout of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) Holdsworth Community is also committing to the Campaign to End Loneliness.

Ending loneliness

Launched in the United Kingdom in 2011, the Campaign to End Loneliness tackles the health threat of loneliness for older people. Loneliness can exist across any age group or demographic, including a core part of any community: people living with disabilities.

People with disabilities are less likely than the general population to have meaningful employment, to have personal intimate relationships, to raise their own children and to be seen participating in the local community. Holdsworth supports have most often focused on social, recreational and community options for people to build and maintain social networks. A large focus in recent years has also been on building life skills to support growing independence.

The supports provided by Holdsworth have always stemmed from the needs of the local community. For example, the Saturday outings, which have been running for 30 years, began when parents raised the issue that limited social opportunities existed for young adults with intellectual disabilities. The social outings continue to this day and play a pivotal role in keeping people connected to one another.

The Independent Group

The Independent Group is a recent initiative that has proved to be successful in supporting connectedness. The Independent Group formed over 18 months ago, and it has nearly reached its goal of being independent of any paid support services like those at Holdsworth Community. The group started with a few pioneers who felt they were able and ready to start going on social outings without paid staff and volunteers.

Now, whenever there is information to share, such as when outings recommence for the year, only one person in the group needs to receive a message and they are able to pass it onto the rest of the participants without the assistance of the office staff. Now that all the participants are well practiced, they can trouble shoot any difficulties they encounter as a group and make effective changes to the outing plan on the run.


The NDIS will begin to roll out across the eastern suburbs and City of Sydney from 1 July 2017. This will see a shift in the delivery of services from traditional program based supports to individualised supports.

The support team has been busy in offering pre-NDIS meetings to all families and individuals with over 100 sessions conducted so far. The meetings involve future planning for the individual as well as advice on how to prepare for a planning meeting with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Already Holdsworth Community are making changes in their existing programmes in response to people’s needs. For example, they are extending the hours of group outings to allow parents to spend more time at work. This way the shift to new supports will not be so drastic once the NDIS is fully operational.

Holdsworth Community will continue being a preferred provider of social, recreational and community opportunities for people living with disabilities, with all current and future supported options including essential life skills building components. So if someone wants to:

  • learn how to manage their own money,
  • take public transport independently,
  • cook for themselves and for others,
  • meet friends and possibly a partner, girlfriend or boyfriend, then

Holdsworth Community is interested in exploring these essential life goals.

If you would like to talk to someone about Holdsworth Community supports, please contact 9302 3600.

Miguel Lane-Mullins is the Community Care Assistant Manager at Holdsworth Community