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Limitations to sexual expression for people with an intellectual disability

rights denied121 Care will host the Rights Denied Forum on September 14 – a special event looking at the limitations to sexual expression for people with an intellectual disability.

In Queensland, it is illegal to procure a sex worker for anyone else and is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment. For people with an intellectual disability – or who may be non-verbal – this presents significant issues when it comes to being able to access a sex worker.

This forum will look at the need for balanced legislation for Queensland and the positive and negative factors which need to be examined to move forward with improving access to sex workers for people with an impairment of the mind.

The Rights Denied Forum will be held at the Riverside Hotel South Bank on September 14 between 9am and 4.30pm.

Tickets are $45 for disability support industry professionals and by donation for everyone else.For more information or to book tickets go to: Rights Denied Forum tickets

Accessible accommodation on the Sunshine Coast

Aggie's Oasis picThe list of accessible accommodation on the Sunshine Coast, compiled by 121 Care, has been met with many, many more requests for more information.
Here is the link to the full list we have compiled to date: accessible accommodation on the Sunshine Coast. Please note, there are no financial or commercial arrangements between 121 Care and these accommodation facilities.
Any accommodation houses wanting to be included on the list as accessible should contact us on contact@121care.com.au. Our volunteers will check each property for accessibility before it is eligible for inclusion on the list.
For accessible accommodation elsewhere, check out accessible accommodation




ArtWorkz Festival set to begin

ArtWorkzThe annual ArtWorkz exhibition, featuring the work of Sunshine Coast locals with a disability, will officially open at the Old Ambulance Station, Nambour on Saturday, September 3. 

The exhibition will be launched from 6.30pm and will coincide with Nambour’s Colour the Street Festival on September 3. It will remain open until September 23 to overlap with the inaugural Horizon Festival of Art and Culture for the Sunshine Coast.

Entry to ArtWorkz 2016 – organised by Spiral Inc – will be free throughout the duration and will feature painting, photography, sculpture, creative and engaging workshops and a number of forums.

The Old Nambour Ambulance Station is located at 80 Howard Street, Nambour and entry is free. 

Spiral will also present a number of workshops as part of the ArtWorkz Exhibition and Horizon Festival including the Garden to Plate Workshop which will be run a number of times between September 3 and September 11.

These workshops focus on creating mouth-watering canapes and meals produced from fresh produce, with a focus on creating dips and canapes. Food made during the workshops (on September 2, 7 and 9) will be available for purchase. 

Other ArtWorkz projects during the week will include a theatrical performance of Murder By Nuggets, It’s A Ripper by an ensemble of people with disabilities on September 5, a dance workshop on September 6, henna workshops, still life drawing and creative writing.

For the full ArtWorkz program of events, click here.

The Horizon festival will be an inclusive community festival including street performances, 3D chalk creations, roving artists, workshops for all ages, lantern making, fire cannons, great food and live music. A full program of the Horizon Festival can be found here: https://www.horizonfestival.com.au/


Choosing the right mobility scooter for you

If it is time to buy a new mobility scooter there are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you go shopping.

Too many people make decisions about the type of mobility scooter they’d like to buy, based on little more than how the scooter looks or how much it costs. However, it is often far better to give more think about where you will be taking your scooter.

Light and compact, or heavy duty?mobility blog

Heavy duty mobility scooters will get you through forests and along some beaches. They are bulkier, often capable of slightly higher speeds and are steadier than their smaller counterparts. Think of heavy duty mobility scooters as the sturdy tortoises of the mobility aid world – strong and surprisingly fast when they want to be.

Lighter mobility scooters are easier to store and transport, particularly if you choose a folding mobility scooter. They aren’t going to do as well on rough terrain and they probably won’t get you as far as a heavy duty scooter can, but they are ideal for short trips. They can also be used for a gentle ride around the local park.

Even lightweight/folding mobility scooters come in a wide range of sizes. The Travelscoot is currently the world’s smallest. The very smallest scooters are perfect for people who struggle with long walks and big days out, but can mostly still get around on their own two feet.

Questions you should ask before buying a mobility scooter:

  • Where do I plan to use the scooter?
  • What features are important to me? Does it need to fold? Do I want a big shopping basket?
  • Where will I be storing the mobility scooter? How much space do I have?
  • What’s my budget?
  • How much do I intend to use my mobility scooter?

Before investing your money into your new mobility aid, be sure to take a few test drives. You can browse online, but you’ll only get a real sense of which type of scooter is best for you when you’ve tried a few different options.

Test driving mobility scooters can help you determine how much space you need, how fast you are comfortable going and what features are the most important for you. You might also get a better sense of how it feels to use the scooter out and about, when you might sometimes have to deal with steps and inclines.

If you have found a scooter that you love, don’t feel as if you need to commit to buying it straight away. Always go away and think about your purchase and this is also a good time to look online, for a great deal and a better price.

Wherever your adventures take you, having the right mobility scooter makes everything better.

Contributed by: Mobility Smart, an online retailer stocking a wide variety of mobility scooters, accessories and other mobility aids making life easier.

The high cost of living with a disability

assistive technologyLeading Australian consumer advocacy group, CHOICE, has published a story about the high costs of buying assistive technologies here in Australia.

Journalist Kate Browne asks the question: are Australians living with a disability forced to pay more for assistive technology than those who live overseas?

While the debate may continue about this question, her story indicates the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will “change the landscape” when it comes to buying assistive technologies in Australia.

To read the full story, click here: Costs of assistive technology

Accessible holiday accommodation on the Sunshine Coast

Senior couple relaxing by lake --- Image by © JLPH/cultura/Corbis

 Image by © JLPH/cultura/Corbis

Finding the right holiday location can be difficult at the best of times as you sort through the questions: do we want a beach holiday or an action-packed adventure? What is our price range? How far do we want to travel?

And then for those people with a disability, there is the added complication of making sure the holiday accommodation you choose is accessible.

121 Care has compiled a list of accessible holiday accommodation on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The full list is available on the website Holiday accommodation.

To ensure your holiday is as stress-free as possible, 121 Care also provides holiday support and the hire of accessible equipment – including a fully accessible van.

For more information, contact us on Contact us.

Asking the questions you can’t ask wheelchair users

you cant askABC Television recently ran a series of programs called “You Can’t Ask That” where questions we have often been told should not be asked, were asked.

Among the groups in the spotlight were wheelchair users. The questions ranged from whether people in wheelchairs can bathe themselves; why they are in a wheelchair; are there perks to being in a wheelchair, and if they are able to have sex.

It is an enlightening view and well worth a watch. Emotional, intensely personal, informative and at times, very funny.

You can view the wheelchair users episode here: Wheelchair Users

121 Disability Housing Solutions – let us help you

New housing pic

It’s no secret just how hard it can be to find suitable housing on the Sunshine Coast. For those people with a disability, who have specific accessibility needs, this problem is further complicated.

Having seen the need first-hand, 121 Care has developed the Disability Housing Solutions project which includes an expert team of 10 specialists in finance, legals, property, accessibility and other specialist fields required to get you a home that meets your needs and perhaps even your dreams.

In addition to coming up with a housing solution, the team has several housing projects already underway which might appeal to you or a family member or friend. Do you want to live in a community? Do you want a shared home? Do you want to buy your place instead of renting? Do you need a financial solution that won’t put you under stress? If you have a housing problem, we may be able to show you a housing solution just for you.

A recent survey looking at the housing needs of people with a disability on the Sunshine Coast (https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-CT3YSJRS/) revealed 44% of respondents (from a sample of 51 people) will need to find a housing solution within the next two years.

Almost half (48%) of respondents said they were attracted to shared accommodation. One-third of those questioned said they found the idea of cluster housing – such as a diverse community with village infrastructure – appealing.

Alarmingly, 56% of respondents in need of housing solutions were aged between 20 and 30 with 77% saying they were renting and, as such, did not enjoy long-term stability in their current accommodation.


The survey results confirmed that finding the ideal home is difficult and requires specific tailored solutions to many complex problems. Many on the Coast have been trying to solve their housing problems for a long, long time, with few long-term satisfying outcomes.

Why does this situation continue? Why are so many people unhappy with their current housing arrangements?

Perhaps it’s because finding your perfect home is a complex problem; it involves serious financial, legal, property and many other specialist considerations. None of us are fully capable of dealing with these complex issues ourselves. Perhaps we need a new approach. Perhaps we also need to know about the housing solutions that have worked for others both on the Coast and elsewhere.

To solve housing problems we need innovative, best-practice and executable solutions. We need to be able to come up with specific solutions that solve individual needs, and as the survey shows, those needs are different according to each person’s situation.

For more information on the 121 Care Disability Housing Solutions, or to ask questions about your housing needs, visit: https://121care.org.au/housing-solutions/ Our team can suggest confidential solutions to your particular housing needs. Perhaps we can help you find that perfect home for you.

If you would like to fill in an expression of interest for the Disability Housing Solutions project, you can do so here: Expression of Interest

Barry Johnson -121 Care Committee member

Get paid to teach others about the NDIS

NDIS newThe Australian Federation of Disability Organisation (AFDO) is looking for 30 people across Australia to become “NDIS Champions”.

“We are especially interested in emerging grassroots leaders,” the AFDO website said. “People who are great communicators with a fresh voice.”

The NDIS Champions program is only open to people with disabilities. To be eligible you must be able to provide an ABN (Australian Business Number) which can be a personal ABN or a company ABN and you must be covered by insurance.

“People with disabilities are not often asked to provide information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to their peers and community,” AFDO said.

“AFDO is now offering an NDIS Champions program that will put together a group of people with disabilities from all around Australia who can confidently provide information on the NDIS. Training will be provided to the NDIS Champions to make sure they have the necessary skills and knowledge.”

Those who are named NDIS Champions will be paid $30/hour for their work and training and each will be expected to develop relationships with the other NDIS Champions. Total time commitment is expected to be around 20 to 30 hours.

Those who are selected will be required to attend training in Melbourne for two days in September.

Key attributes to be successful in this role include:

  • Have great connections in the grassroots disability community
  • Be recognised by their peers as a good communicator who gets along well with other people
  • Promote the program through their own networks
  • Be available to inform others about the NDIS
  • Develop relationships with other NDIS Champions to provide peer support
  • Be able to have sufficient time to participate in all parts of the program.

For more information and the application form, visit NDIS Champions

Why we need wheelchair access on our beaches

WHEELCHAIR BEACHCurrimundi mum Jill Boxtel has taken up the cause of making some Sunshine Coast beaches wheelchair accessible by trying to raise awareness about a nifty little product called mobi-matting. This matting is a portable system of mats which are simply rolled out of a morning and rolled back up late afternoon.

The matting provides a stable pathway for wheelchairs, strollers and people unsteady on their feet such as the elderly. Jill’s adult daughter is paraplegic following a skiing accident. Each time  her daughter  visits from  Colorado, Jill said she is extremely frustrated by the lack of beach access  for wheelchairs. Jill is pushing for the matting to be installed at  Currimundi Lake but also believes  improved access at  any coast beach is a good start.

Jill has approached a number of Coast politicians to encourage their support and funding for the matting. Below is a copy of the letter she has sent to them. Jill is keen to have others, who share her goal of making beaches accessible, contact their local councillor or the cuoncil dirctly. 121 Care is accepting donations towards the provision of matting at a trial location on the Coast yet to be determined. Jason O’Pray, the Division 8 representative for Sunshine Coast Regional Council,  has already kicked in $2,500 to help purchase the first matting for the Sunshine Coast.


SUNSHINE COAST please lead the way by creating the first Queensland wheelchair accessible beach/lake at family-friendly CURRIMUNDI, QUEENSLAND!


Queensland has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and how many are accessible to disabled people? NONE!

 trip to the beach is something most of us take for granted, happily running across the sand and diving into the ocean. Now put yourself in the shoes/wheelchair of a disabled person. Between you and that enticing ocean, is what seems an interminable stretch of sand and absolutely no way to cross it!

I have personally experienced this dilemma with my daughter, Amanda, who sustained a spinal cord injury and uses a wheelchair for mobility.  We have struggled through the sand, wheels spinning or have foregone the wheelchair and resorted to my holding Amanda’s legs while she hauls her body across the sand, a tremendous workout for her arms.

For approximately 25% of the population (a very conservative figure, including the disabled and elderly), this challenge to access the beach is very much a reality. THIS DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE CASE!

Their reality could in fact be very different. Picture wheelchair users, the elderly or people pushing prams, wind in their hair, a big smile on their faces, happily traversing that soft sand, along a path of cool blue matting stretching down to the water’s edge, that elusive ocean or lake within easy reach.


Many councils in NSW, VIC and SA have taken the initiative to make at least SOME of their major beaches accessible to all members of the community. It’s time for Queensland to get with the program!

Some of the QLD Surf Life Saving Clubs do have beach wheelchairs, but these only cater for a limited number of disabled users, whereas beach matting enables almost all users to access the beach.

What’s required to make a beach accessible?

  • A simple run of low-maintenance beach access matting (operated daily or on weekends by an SLSC, just like it is in other states of Australia)
  • Ideally a basic floating wheelchair for transfers into the water
  • Ideally some accessible parking and an accessible bathroom nearby.

This means all wheelchairs (manual or electric) can reach the cooler hard sand and/or water.


We’re not asking for major infrastructure changes at the beach and lake, just a helping hand to get onto the sand!

Let’s lead the way by making at least ONE Queensland beach and lake properly accessible.

If you would like to know more about Mobi-matting, check out our Facebook page 121 Care facebook or email us at contact@121care.org.au