Your local area coordinator will be available to support you with general enquiries regarding information on programs and activities in your local community. You can make an enquiry over the phone or at your nearest local area coordination partner office.
If you need more support, you can meet with a local area coordinator to discuss your situation and needs. Your local area coordinator will listen to you and talk about what mainstream and community supports are available in your community and see how these supports may help you pursue your goals. This information can be recorded in a community connections plan, or it might be a conversation about services you can access.
If someone is seeking support on your behalf, we will talk to both of you about consent. We will consider if they have authority to act on your behalf. In some cases, more information may be needed before we can work with you on community connections.
What can you expect when we meet with you?
They will start by working with you to get some general information. They will work with you to understand your needs and current situation.
Your local area coordinator will ask you about what’s important to you to understand the life you want to live, and your goals. Your goals are your own personal desires about what you’d like to do. You can have as many or as few goals as you want. They can be big or small, short-term or long-term, simple or complex.
We’ll talk with you about what your goals will mean for community connections. We can’t change your goals or choose them for you. But we can help you think about how you want to word them.
All the information you give helps us work out the best supports to meet your needs. We’ll keep your personal information safe and secure. Learn more about your privacy and information.
You can also ask other people to help you if you want to. For example, you can have friends, family or an advocate join the conversation about community connections.
When you meet with your local area coordinator, they’ll ask you about:
- your situation
- what is important to you, including goals you would like to pursue
- your current strengths and abilities
- your current supports and services
- areas where you may need more support
- how well the current supports and services meet your needs
- what help you need to build your skills to do more things yourself
- the types of community and government services you are using.
Your local area coordinator will show you what connections are available in your local community that could support you. If you want, this information can be recorded in a community connections plan.
What is a community connections plan?
A community connections plan is where you can record information about you, your goals, how you want to work towards your goals and what community and mainstream supports may help.
A community connections plan is different to an NDIS plan. It includes parts of an NDIS plan, such a goals and community and mainstream supports, but does not include supports funded by the NDIS.
To determine if a community connections plan will be helpful to you, consider whether you:
- want to provide us with personal information, like your name, address and date of birth
- want to meet with a local area coordinator to talk more about your situation and support needs
- want information to help you connect to community and mainstream supports
- prefer information in writing, to help you make connections
- want to discuss your goals
- need help to develop your goals
- might be eligible for the NDIS, and you’d like to apply to become an NDIS participant
- need more support than one or two short phone calls or discussions.
If you are requesting support for a child, we will work with you to consider these questions.
You only need to provide as much information as you are willing to share. This will help you make the most out of your community connections plan.
If you don’t want to give us this personal information, we cannot create a community connections plan, but we can still give you information relevant to you.
Even if you don’t want a community connections plan, you can still talk to a local area coordinator to get advice and information.
Jamie has just completed a Patisserie training certificate and dreams of being a pastry chef. Jamie has a mild disability and wants some support to prepare for work and find a job.
Jamie contacts their local area coordinator and asks about what supports are available. The local area coordinator talks to Jamie about their situation and suggests developing a community connections plan. Jamie prepares some goals with their local area coordinator, including a goal to find the right job and a goal to be supported to start and keep their new job.
The local area coordinator records Jamie’s goals and information about their current supports. The local area coordinator also records and shares information about mainstream supports available to help them prepare for and find a job. For example, one of the mainstream supports is a local employment service that provides support for people starting out in work. Once Jamie finds a job, the employment service will also work with their new employer to make sure the workplace is inclusive and provides any reasonable adjustments Jamie needs.
At the end of the meeting, Jamie leaves with a copy of their community connections plan. The plan includes their goals, current supports and the community and mainstream supports they can get to help them work towards their employment goals. The next steps Jamie needs to take are also recorded in their community connections plan.
Jamie gets help to find and adjust to a new job through one of the mainstream supports listed in their community connections plan, through a local employment service. Once Jamie has connected with this employment service, they receive the support they need for preparing for work and are on their way to finding the right job. Jamie doesn’t need any further support through the NDIS. Jamie knows they can always talk to their local area coordinator if they need more help in future.
What if you don’t want a community connections plan?
We can help you with general enquiries and information, even if you don’t want a community connections plan. We can still help you to make connections in your community.
If you want to apply for the NDIS and become an NDIS participant, we will need to gather this information about you, your goals, and connections with community and mainstream supports to help create an NDIS plan.
Zaina is a 19-year-old university student who lives with friends in a share house. She has just been diagnosed with a degenerative condition and wants to know what options and services are available to her if her condition worsens.
Zaina comes to talk to her local area coordinator to find out what supports, and services are in her local area. We talk to Zaina to find out more about her and her situation. We explain the ways we can help her find supports and services in her community, such as giving her information on what services are available in Zaina’s local area. And helping her to make connections with mainstream services.
We think Zaina would benefit from a community connections plan and ask if she would like us to prepare one. We need some personal information to create this. Zaina doesn’t think she needs a community connection plan right now. She just wants some information to know what type of help is available near her.
We give Zaina information about support groups and local services that are available in the area.
In 6 months’ time, Zaina’s circumstances change. She contacts her local area coordinator to get more information and she asks for community connections plan this time. Zaina decides she wants to apply to the NDIS and her local area coordinator helps her apply.