With the gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions, it has been wonderful to see a return to in-community activities for OC Connections’ day support participants.
Activities such as Explore Melbourne; Shop, Cook and Learn; Parks and Gardens; and Coffee Catch up see participants head out and enjoy the sights and experiences Melbourne has to offer. Supported by staff, participants make use of public transport, and visit cafés, supermarkets, local parks and markets.
Every Tuesday, Disability Support Workers Hyuna and Ngaire accompany several participants into Oakleigh Shopping Centre to enjoy a catch up over a hot drink at the local coffee shop, Ferguson Plarre.
On a recent visit to the coffee shop everyone sat around two tables and enjoyed their beverage of choice. Brad, Noah and Julie settled on coffees and hot chocolate, while Lachie chose a juice. Brad shared about his love of sports with Noah and Hyuna while Julie had a chat to Ngaire. The catch up provides the opportunity for participants to enjoy a familiar environment that is outside of their home while catching up with friends and engaging with members of the community outside of their family and OC Connections.
Café staff always look forward to having OC Connections participants come in to grab a drink. They are always eager to help in any way they can and say it’s a pleasure to see everyone’s smiling faces. This is a great example of how community engagement and interaction can help break down the barriers for people with disability while continuing to include and value them.
Ngaire also told us that these day trips are great for the participants as it breaks-up their day and everyone generally is quite excited to get out and about.
We know a friendly “hello, how are you going?” can make someone’s day, and OCC participants are no different. If you see us and OCC participants out and about, why not take a moment to say hi, come up for a chat, or welcome them into your business? These moments can make positive changes in their world.