Vision, Principles and Funding
Inclusion Melbourne believes that each person with a disability should have a good life in their local community. Our vision is for full community inclusion which means:
Currently, Victoria’s disability day services providers are in transition from traditional, centre based group activities to a more personalised approach. At Inclusion Melbourne, we’re different for the following reasons:
Inclusion Melbourne implements the vision by ‘walking beside people’ and:
These principles mean that support from Inclusion Melbourne aims to look like a typical life in the community and not a set program of activities. This is our approach for achieving practical community inclusion. Inclusion Melbourne recognises that people learn best by doing the ‘real thing’, not by practising somewhere else. The implications of this are that Inclusion Melbourne support arrangements:
No. Inclusion Melbourne is a proudly independent charity, formed in 1950 by a group of families who were told to place their children in an institution. Their pioneering spirit still drives the board and staff in all that we do. As our founders said, “I don’t always know what I want, but I know I don’t want that”. This phrase is commonly heard in staff meetings, where staff focus on avoiding the things that people don’t want and continue to work with people to explore and discover what is personally meaningful.
In addition to being an independent disability services provider in Melbourne, we are also a registered training organisation (RTO).
In Victoria, people with a disability are eligible to receive an individual funding package. These funding packages are known by a number of names (Individual Support Packages, Futures For Young Adults, Individually Attached Funding, Direct Payments). In most cases, the funding cannot be accessed by the individual but instead serves as a voucher that funds a registered Disability Support Provider such as Inclusion Melbourne.
Yes. We’ve had a few! We were originally the Prahran & South Yarra branch of the Helping Hand Association, then Gawith Villa and now Inclusion Melbourne.
The name Gawith Villa was selected to honour the efforts of Charles Gawith, who in 1954, as the Mayor of the City of Prahran and inaugural chair, established the Gawith Villa Trust. The organisation changed its name in 2008 to reflect our journey and direction, focusing on people being part of a welcoming community.
Personalised support for people with a disability
Supports that are personalised to you – a service that makes sense specifically to you as an individual.
Personalised support means that we get to know who you really are and what really matters to you. Once we know who you are, we can work together to design a service that meets your individual needs. Custom made support arrangements are planned, reliable, flexible, supervised and coordinated by matching your preferences with you’re your funds and other personal and community resources available to you. Inclusion Melbourne doesn’t have an off the rack service – every support arrangement we make, we develop from scratch.
Direct support is where a person we work with has someone working alongside them to help achieve his or her personal goals – whether it be to learn a new skill, help set up a market stall, change a car tyre or practice reading. Direct support can be provided by a paid member of staff or by a volunteer, generally on a 1:1 basis.
We believe that families should be able to enjoy time together as families, and so we created the Support Coordinator role to make this happen. The role of a Support Coordinator is to deal with all of the administrative parts involved in managing an individual support package, so that families can focus on the important bit – enjoying family life. As a guide, most people we support use at least 2 hours a week of support coordination to help them manage their community opportunities.
Planning comes in all shapes and sizes. What is important is:
When people commence with Inclusion Melbourne, its important to us to know the things you want to achieve, your goals, aspirations and dreams. To do this, we often take time to sit with you and learn to ask the right questions so we can discover what really matters to you. Once we’ve asked the right questions, we write down the things you want to achieve and this is what we call your plan. This plan then becomes the basis for developing your tailor made supports and you will be involved in regularly discussing and reviewing your plan based on your experiences.
What is possible depends on each individual’s personal and family preferences, their current lifestyle, and the roles of family, volunteers and other community members, the roles of other providers and Inclusion Melbourne’s role within the available funding. Planning purposeful activities brings attention to each person’s interest and skills in relation to:
Briefly the role of the support coordinator is to do the following things:
Volunteers bring many benefits that you cannot get from a paid relationship, like building your social network through introducing you to other people and activities. We find many volunteer relationships lead to long lasting friendships – which brings with it the offers of birthday presents, and sharing Christmases and family functions together. Our goals is that every person we support will have someone in his or her life who is there because they want to be there, not because they are paid to be there.
Typically, individually attached funding packages only provide enough funding to employ a support professional for between 5 and 16 hours of personalised support. If you require support to participate and enjoy activities, volunteers offer one way of creating a full week of activities.
Getting started and getting support
Getting started with Inclusion Melbourne involves initial meetings/s between you, your family members and our Program Manager. We’ll provide information about what Inclusion Melbourne can do, clarify what is being asked of us and make referrals to other services if/when its determined that we can’t provide everything that you may want or need.
At this stage Inclusion Melbourne may need to ask more of the planner, family or others who know the person well. It is essential Inclusion Melbourne has information which will assist to ‘bring out the best’ in each person. Inclusion Melbourne needs to know what approaches have been successful in the past and when the person has been unable to continue certain arrangements due to health, behaviour, or other support needs. Inclusion Melbourne needs to know about each person, their likes and dislikes, their supporters, friends and past successful or unsuccessful day activities. It is important not to repeat unhappy or unsuccessful experiences for someone! Inclusion Melbourne will ask for the following information:
During this information gathering process,families will be asked to confirm in writing that the information provided is as accurate as possible. How long this all takes depends on how quickly information can be gathered from individuals, families, other planners and so on.
Following an enquiry from a new individual and their family, Inclusion Melbourne commences planning and developing an individual Support Plan. This involves several steps:
Initial Sampling occurs in the first 4 weeks, post approval of DHS funding, then as we continue to gather information from you and your family, and possibly other people in your life, we’ll develop an Interim Support Plan. It may take up to 12 months to develop the ongoing Support Plan.
Starting with Inclusion Melbourne is different from starting with most other day services. That’s because Inclusion Melbourne is not a set program. We wait to plan with you what you want to do. This means that some possibilities may not be immediately available and take time to get going. So at the start we’ll talk about what can happen while your plan is being set up. Everyone wants a good match between what someone wants and what is available. While this is happening some people may simply spend some more time at home, perhaps with friends or other family members. It’s a bit like going for a job and waiting for the right opportunities to be found. This process is really different for people coming from a traditional day program of five days a week. Our staff will discuss ideas with you about what could happen while you are waiting for Inclusion Melbourne support to be arranged as you want it to be. Our staff need time to set up for you all the new possibilities in your local community
Activity sampling means finding possibilities in the community to try, based on what you have indicated are your likes, dislikes and abilities. Inclusion Melbourne commences this trialling stage at the completion of initial information gathering (getting started) and after you and your family have signed documentation confirming that the information you’ve provided is as accurate as possible. Inclusion Melbourne gets started with what each person wants; whether this can be supported by family, volunteers and community members; and what funding is needed for staffing and program costs. This process occurs in the first 4 weeks, post approval of DHS funding, and depends on accurate initial information from the individual, family members and other referring or involved service providers.
Developing an Interim Support Plan involves getting to know you and your community. It is really important that all relevant information is collected before we decide on the best Interim Support Plan. Inclusion Melbourne always commences with personalised (also called individualised) planning in relation to what you want to do. Sometimes people will come to Inclusion Melbourne with a clear idea of what they want to do and what help they need to do it – but not always. It can take time to understand someone and arrange what is wanted or needed. It can be helpful to try some different activities as a way of deciding what is wanted, perhaps with another person. The Inclusion Melbourne Support Plan may be based on wider holistic planning, if available during the earlier information gathering stage.
The Interim Support Plan is not like a placement at a day program. At this stage it may seem as if not much is happening. Though full time support won’t yet be available, you may receive several hours of support. That’s because extending the support depends on partnerships with other community settings. It takes time to set these up. It’s important to talk with Inclusion Melbourne staff about how the individual and family can manage during this set up time.
At the completion of the Interim Support Planning stage there will be:
Implementing the Support Plan for New and Continuing People
Inclusion Melbourne recognises that when people come to Inclusion Melbourne, they don’t always know what they want or what is possible. It can take time to develop support arrangements and these may change as people have new experiences and opportunities. Inclusion Melbourne therefore progressively develops Support Plan arrangements and fine tunes these at nominated intervals. The development of each person’s Inclusion Melbourne Support Plan considers:
For new and existing people, the implementation of the Support Plan and coordination of support arrangements continues to involve the Support Coordinator who :
Yes. In addition to ongoing monitoring of support arrangements, Inclusion Melbourne undertakes a formal review of the suitability and success of Support Plans. The monitoring function is usually carried out by Support Coordinators and includes:
Anyone can initiate a review at any time if there are problems, new opportunities or circumstances change. Inclusion Melbourne will undertake a review if the support arrangements are not proving satisfactory for everyone involved.
The only out of pocket expense you will pay is the daily service fee. In 2013 this is $7.50 per day. The majority of costs in providing your supports are drawn from your individual support package and you are involved in developing a budget each year to show how this money is to be spent. In some cases, families provide ‘top up’ funds where the package does not meet all of your needs.
The funds provided by government no longer reflect the true costs of providing quality supports to people. This is most easily seen in the Department of Human Services
Price Review Out of Home Disability Services prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers in March 2009. A copy of this report can be found here
Providing supports in the community results in higher costs than if we grouped people into one building. The service fees helps us to meet the costs associated with things like maintaining our high standards of quality, mobile computing and staff support and supervision.