News • 21 Feb 2022

What is community participation?

Community Participation, commonly known as Community Access Support, for those with mental illness or disabilities involves a recreational or educational activity of their choice to increase social connection.

Social interaction and engaging with the community is an important part of daily life, whether you live with a disability or mental illness, or not.

Those with disabilities and mental illnesses are at higher risk of isolation, and so a lot of participant goals under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) are to increase community participation.

This funding gives participants assistance with social, economic and community participation under the Core Supports line item.

Support Workers work collaboratively with clients and their support network to better understand their already stated NDIS goals which feature prominently on NDIS plans.

Goals are broad but will generally focus on increasing social engagement through finding new hobbies, interests, support networks, employment and or volunteering opportunities.

Norm Oneissy, Intake and Enquiries Officer at Open Minds, said: “Community access activities can include everyday essentials such as grocery shopping and attending appointments, but can also include fun activities such as going to concerts and sporting events.

“The activities can be one-on-one with a Support Worker, or may be with a group of other people, depending on what’s best suited to each person.

“Support Workers work first and foremost with the individuals. However, successful support work incorporates information and knowledge from a person’s formal and informal supports. This can include following guidance from allied health professionals such at Occupational Therapists and Psychologists. By increasing social participation, we decrease isolation and loneliness and build their independence to live a life of fulfilment, which is what it’s all about.”

The most important part of community participation for those living with mental illnesses or disabilities, is growing the confidence and independence to engage in the community of their choice.

Often community participation is allocated in a person’s NDIS plan for once, twice, or several times per week, depending on their unique requirements.

During the planning and assessment phase of putting together a person’s NDIS plan, their communication, mobility, and independence is taken into account.

These factors will determine the frequency and hours allocated for Community Participation in the person’s NDIS plan.

Open Minds provides Community Participation in numerous locations across Queensland. 

Find out more about our Community Participation service here.  

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