Through our Supported Independent Living (SIL) program, Challenge has supported numerous clients experience greater independence while finding the perfect place to call home. Ashley is one of the most recent clients to move into a Supported Independent Living home, and it’s already made a hugely positive impact on her daily life.

Finding the perfect home

In order to make a successful transition into a new home, there are lots of moving parts and often more than just one organisation doing the work. That was certainly true for Ashley, who found her way to Challenge thanks to the services of Trusted Support Coordination, a specialised NDIS operator.

“Ashley and her father first came to meet John Wood, Regional Manager at Challenge, and myself at one of our properties,” says Melinda Shepherd, House Supervisor. “Ashley viewed a property that was similar to one she would be offered. Her support needs were discussed, and Ashley’s main focus was on whether or not she would be able to bring Freddy, her pet rabbit, with her.”

Throughout the entire process, Ashley says she felt very well supported: “They made me feel welcome and the workers who I met before I moved in were really lovely.”

A housemate named Freddy the rabbit

After Ashley viewed the property and chose her bedroom, she was eager to start the move-in process – especially after her furry friend Freddy was given the green light to join her. “The support workers made him feel welcome and gave him lots of treats,” Ashley says. “They love hugging him and saying good morning and goodnight to him.”

Ashley stayed at another home for an interim period while her new place was prepared, and after a few weeks she made the big move.

Kicking goals

Since moving into her new SIL home, Ashley has gone from strength to strength. She continues with her external support three times per week, enjoys one-on-one support for community access every Tuesday and Thursday, and gets up to all sorts of activities (and mischief) in her free time.

“We go out for walks, we go and get lunch, we play with Freddy,” she says. “I find it quite relaxing at home. The workers are nice and supportive.”

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Ashley’s future is filled with animals

Despite the current COVID-19 restrictions, Ashley is hopeful that support from a jobseeker organisation will help her find the ideal job – one that involves working with animals.

Ashley’s support workers are assisting her to get her driver licence as well as apply to TAFE to study the Animal Studies Certificate III course. She’s also taken it upon herself to get accredited as a dog walker.

“I got my Dog Walking Certificate from Mad Paws,” Ashley says. “I went online with my new computer that I got through the NDIS, then I had to do all the modules and I only got one question wrong out of the whole lot. Now I can basically walk dogs and get paid for it with my own dog-walking business.”

The future is looking bright for Ashley: happy home, a new career and study on the horizon, and plenty of fun times with her pet rabbit Freddy.

You can find out more about Supported Independent Living, view current vacancies or contact our friendly team for more information on 1800 679 129 or email disabilityservices@challengecommunity.org.au.