Shelley’s on the move in life of freedom and independence

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Shelley Holland’s ongoing success in living independently while pursuing her social and employment goals has the NDIS participant on the move… literally. 

Recently jetting to Rockhampton from her home base in Lismore heights to visit her grandparents marked a magic moment for the 39-year-old who lives with Cerebral Palsy, in a first trip away without family support. 

Shelley sitting on her scooter looking at the camera with a small white dog on her lap.

“I haven’t seen them for two years because of COVID-19, and they’re in their 90s, so they were really excited to see me,” Shelley said.

“We came up on an airplane for two nights and I love having that freedom.”

While the trip itself was self-funded by Shelley, accompanying her on the trip was support worker and “best friend”, Debbie, who is just one support funded by the NDIS Shelley uses to live the life she chooses. 

Living independently since she was 21, the introduction of the NDIS has provided Shelley with the supports needed to increase her capacity after moving into her own two-bedroom unit through North Coast Housing.

While Shelley’s unit in Lismore Heights is considered remote, an initiative through NDIS partner in Local Area Coordination (LAC), Social Futures, ensures she has access to plan support.

The Mobile Office Outreach Vans (MOOV) provides a wheelchair accessible remote office for Shelley to engage with her LAC.

Through the engagement of an independent staff of support workers who assist Shelley with daily cooking and cleaning, the NDIS has also provided funding for supports such as her walker, wheelchair and cushion.

Loving to be out and about, the affable, funny and animal-loving Shelley loves her social activities and independent lifestyle as much as engaging through her supported employment. 

“I work in a processing unit packing medical supplies on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, and I’m part of a Women’s Circle group where I go out and socialise and make friends,” Shelley said.

“We do things like go to the beach and have morning tea or go for a walk, and they drop me home afterwards.

“I also go out with them every fortnight and recently saw an ABBA Show. I also go to Horsetalk Riding Farm on Tuesdays and get to brush the horses…. I love animals and I love doing social things.”

Debbie, who’s been by Shelley’s side for over 14 years, said her progress since the introduction of the NDIS had been amazing.

“The NDIS has listened to her and not only does she get that freedom, she really feels part of her plan and the process of understanding what she needs,” she said.

“She’s also been able to learn about technology through a young staff member who goes through things like how to use her iPhone and iPad, and her Smart TV.

“I’ve really seen huge growth since the NDIS. She’s so proud of not having to rely on her mother now, and the NDIS has given her freedom and the option to make her own choices.”

A fan of Neil Diamond and Elvis, Shelley’s dream is to meet the former on a trip to America, but with a major goal of walking by herself for the first time, she’s leaving no stone unturned in her quest.

“Through the NDIS, I go to NeuroMoves on Mondays and Wednesdays and they’re trying to get me to walk,” Shelley said.

“I do things like stand up with bars supporting me, and step over bean bags or stand on a treadmill. It’s also exercise and that is very important to me.

“I’ve got that freedom… the NDIS is the best thing that ever happened for me and I love it.”