Ability to be involved in our local community is something that most people take for granted. Making connections, developing friendships and gaining a sense of participation and contribution are things that are assumed to be available to everyone.
Connecting to a community you have not been a part of because of long-term illness or disability, or, reconnecting with your community after a period of disengagement, whether it is due to illness (physical or mental) or adjustment to an acquired disability can be difficult, but worthwhile.
Connection to community not only aids physical, mental and psychological wellbeing, it is the right of all people regardless of ability, health or capacity to be included in their community.
Ways to reconnect with your community
There are many pathways through which you can connect or reconnect with your community, some of these include –
- Community gardens – these offer people the opportunity to experience nature and become involved in the care and maintenance of vegetable gardens, flower beds and other projects such as worm farms.
- Volunteering – many groups and organisations need people who can offer their time, experience and knowledge to help others.
- Social media – offers access to many groups, organisations and forums which encourage people to become involved and connected through, sharing of experiences, ideas or opinions in an on-line community.
- Further education, workshops and training – these offer individuals the chance for growth, experimentation, and gaining of specific knowledge.
Along with everyday activities such as-
- Shopping at your local shopping center
- Seeing a movie at your local cinema
- Visiting your local library
- Having a coffee at your local café
These are all ways to feel connected to and involved in your local community and also offer the opportunity for the development of relationships, the supporting and building of self-esteem and the demonstration of ability.
A lack of community involvement can lead to isolation, stress, unhappiness and even depression. If disconnection or lack of involvement in the local community is an issue for you or for someone you care for and you would like to change this, you may find these services useful –
- Volunteering WA – there are many opportunities available through their website and whether a person is suitable or not for a position depends on their individual abilities/disabilities
- Inclusion WA – this organisation can help link people with a disability to volunteering positions in the community depending on their interests
- Local area coordinators for the Disability Services Commission are also another resource for connecting people to possible volunteer positions in their community
- Finally depending on the persons disability the organisation that represents them i.e., the Autism Association for people with Autism or Vision Australia for those people who are vision impaired are also good places for a person looking for a volunteer position to begin this search.
If you feel you need emotional or psychological support regarding community inclusion or you are a carer for someone and you feel you need individual counselling, you may benefit from talking to a therapist, counsellor, psychologist or your G.P.
Vision Counselling and Psychology is disability service provider in Perth for the NDIS and WA NDIS delivering therapy supports including counselling and psychology. Please contact us for further information on disability services and how we can help to support you.Article Title: Reconnecting with your Community
Article By: Vision Counselling and Psychology, Perth Western Australia
Web Address: www.visioncounselling.com.au
Published: 04/12/2014 “Working towards an inclusive community for all”, (Uniting Community Care) Available: https://www.uccommunity.org.au/inclusion-support (Accessed: 2014, November 25). Image reference: Dollar Photo Club