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Matt loves to socialise and makes friends, but because he has an intellectual disability, it can sometimes be tricky to find good places to do that. Without a safe space where Matt feels supported, he could end up staying at home a lot and being socially isolated.
NZCT has awarded a grant of $30,000 to equip the Paraparaumu and Palmerston North IHC Community Day Bases with resources that can help bring people with intellectual disabilities and their families together.
The funding is being used for a mix of equipment, furniture, a large screen tv and specialised sensory equipment in Palmerston North’s Matariki Community Hub and the Paraparaumu Community Day base.
IHC National Fundraising Manager Greg Millar says there’s a real need in both places for a specialised, safe and community space where people can socialise, have fun, learn and develop new skills, and connect with other people with intellectual disabilities and with other families in similar circumstances in a non-judgemental and inclusive environment.
“It may mean some people with intellectual disabilities are empowered to be more active members of their communities,” Greg says. “This can create meaningful change and we want to thank NZCT for their generosity in making a difference.
“In the long-term, we can utilise the equipment further for regular activities and functions for the people we support, bringing more fun and celebrating as a large group for occasions like St Patrick's Day, Melbourne Cup, and Christmas.”
Each of these resources has been specifically chosen to support the needs of the locals. There are game consoles that are popular with young people, like Matt, who are neurodivergent and have intellectual disabilities. Games can reduce stress and anxiety and provide key opportunities to socialise with peers.
IHC’s residential entity, IDEA Services, has been operating in Palmerston North and Paraparaumu for decades and already brings people in its services together for events and opportunities – this allows young families and individuals who don’t use the services to also come together in the community space.
“It creates a real heart of the community,” says Greg.