New destinations have opened up for two Sydney Community Services groups of adults with a disAbility, thanks to North Ryde RSL which made a $5,000 grant to be used for special events and experiences including theatre, marine and wildlife attractions.

About a dozen adults with mild-to-moderate disAbility get together on Mondays and Fridays to enjoy exercise each morning, art sessions, outdoor games such as cricket plus ten-pin bowling and sailing have been monthly highlights. But since winning the Club Grant from North Ryde RSL, their horizons have widened to include ‘Zumba’ Latin-style exercise classes plus music trivia and karaoke with Penny Martin from Penelope’s Pitstop. This year, the grant is covering visits to Taronga Zoo on alternate months, much to clients’ delight.

“Now the groups have voted to use the funds for a ‘Merlin’ pass, covering attractions such as Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife Zoo, Madam Tussauds Sydney, and the Sydney Tower Eye,” says Gaynor Starkey, Coordinator, DisAbility Services.

Gaynor said the grant has given clients something to look forward to and an avenue through which they’re able to participate and connect more with the broader community.

“These activities also boost purpose by encouraging clients to leave their homes and enjoy their lives to the fullest extent possible,” she said.

Special activities such as attending Zumba and singing workshops, theatre performances or taking a trip to the zoo may seem commonplace to the average citizen. Yet to people with disabilities who struggle with financial and health constraints, these activities are often out of reach.

“Recently, we visited parts of Taronga Zoo in three separate, short visits because a longer day-visit isn’t possible for them due to disabilities.   In this way, clients experienced the whole Zoo, just like everyone else,” said Gaynor.

If budget allows, the two groups will be able to include a theatre event and a trip on the harbour. As well as Monday and Friday Social and Recreational Groups, SCS runs several programs for adults with acquired and inherited disAbility who have low- to medium-support needs. We offer meaningful programs based on clients’ choices and enjoyment to people in Hunters Hill, Ryde and Lane Cove areas. Group activities include a social club, bus outings and walking groups, plus a drama workshop. Individual programs and supports include community access, chosen leisure activities, everyday skill-building and travel assistance and training.  Fees are NDIS-recommended; see details here