Sarah's story

When Sarah met her Local Area Coordinator (LAC), she knew she would one day want to change jobs but didn’t know what she could try instead. Her LAC has been working alongside her to help her find the right path.

For three years, Sarah has been considering what she might do if she left her job as a supermarket checkout operator.

But, like many young New Zealanders, she is unsure about what she wants to do in the future.

‘It’s just finding that right thing for her and it’s maybe a bit about confidence in knowing what step to take. That’s part of a lot of the talks that we have,’ her LAC Jenny Dawber says.

Sarah hopes to find a new job and
do a bit of travelling.

Sarah looked into doing barista training so that she could work in a café, but decided it didn’t quite suit.  She spent time at a community day programme for older people and says that she ‘thought it was going to be a bit of fun but then it wasn’t really for me’. With Jenny’s support, Sarah has also had the opportunity to try table tennis and a walking group.

To build her confidence Jenny thought it might be a good idea for Sarah to do a Positively Me for Women course. Sarah welcomed the idea and is now on a waiting list for the course with Relationships Aotearoa in Tauranga. 

Thanks to having a LAC, Sarah says she already feels more involved in the community. ‘Jenny and I have become good friends along the way. I think she has changed my life and given me lots of challenges.’

One day, Sarah says she hopes to travel to Sydney for a holiday. She has already started saving up for the trip. In the meantime, she is focusing on making new friends, trying different activities and finding a new job.

‘Those were the big things on your plan – to get out and about a bit more, make more friendships … feel happier in your job, and a bit of travelling thrown in there,’ Jenny says.

The journey so far has helped Sarah discover her likes and dislikes – and remind her of all the possibilities, she says.

The Ministry of Health’s New Model for Supporting Disabled People is a new way of helping disabled people achieve their goals and have more choice and control over supports and funding in their everyday lives.

Local Area Coordinators walk alongside disabled people and their families to help them plan for a good life. They help disabled people to reach their goals by providing them with information and building relationships with the community. They also assist communities to include and welcome disabled people.




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