Melanie's story

Local Area Coordination and Enhanced Individualised Funding have made a “huge difference” to Melanie’s life.

Melanie, who lives in the Bay of Plenty, decided to seek help earlier this year as a result of becoming more frustrated with her vision impairment. After hearing through Plunket about Local Area Coordinators (LAC), who walk alongside people with disabilities and their families/whanau, Melanie got in touch with LAC Debbie Davidson.

The two began talking through Melanie’s goals and developing a plan.MElanie.

Melanie, who is a busy mother of three, says it made her realise what opportunities were available.

“Debbie made me feel very comfortable and relaxed and worked really hard to gather information for me on what was available in the community.”

When Debbie told Melanie about flexible funding for disability supports – Enhanced Individualised Funding (EIF) – she decided to apply.

She says the process was “quick and easy”, with EIF starting in June 2013. This has enabled her to employ her own part-time staff and gain more independence much the same as a fully sighted person.

Host organisation Manawanui is taking care of administration and payroll on Melanie’s behalf.

“It really has made a huge difference with how I feel about myself and with being able to get out more and join in with my local community which I didn’t do before.”

She says it has given her independence both as a mother and a wife, bringing positive spin-offs for the whole family.

“I feel in charge and in control. I can do what I want, when I want. It has been a very positive experience for me and is working really well.”

EIF is part of the Ministry of Health’s New Model for Supporting Disabled People. Individualised Funding (IF) already offers disabled people more choice in how funding can be used. EIF takes this one step further by allowing disabled people to buy a wider range of disability support and products/services to assist them with their individual support plans.

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