When it comes to disability services, David Cunningham is passionate about being an empowered customer. He believes everyone should have control over their life, including where they live and the type of environment they call home.
It’s this passion that led him to become the first resident in Home Caring’s brand new SDA development in Schofield Gardens.
As an NDIS participant who is living with Cerebral Palsy, David requires assistance with daily activities. He has been partnering with Home Caring for four years, and oversees over 13 contracts that form his care package.
David also organises his own Specialist Disability Accommodation. Last year, after a series of negative experiences with his former SDA provider, he decided to change his situation and look for a new place to live. “It was a tumultuous and stressful time, but I realised I deserve to be treated with dignity,” says David. “The NDIS is all about people with disability being able to decide our own future, in terms of our care. I wanted to live in new place where I could achieve this.”
SDA living at Schofield Gardens
Luckily timing was on David’s side. After hearing about his accommodation problems, David’s support worker told him about Home Caring’s new SDA development in Schofield, the north west of Sydney.
Set in a central community open space, Home Caring’s luxury-style apartments are designed to meet NDIS High Physical Support standards with the comforts of a modern home. The complex is conveniently located in the community, close to Schofields train station, Rouse Hill Town Centre, shops and tranquil parkland.
After taking a tour, David decided to move into one of the fully accessible apartments on the third floor. His home has wide doors and hallways, a kitchen with stone benchtops, wifi and air conditioning. He also receives Onsite Overnight Assistance when required.
“I’m much happier now. I occupy a spacious apartment and it’s very pleasant and comfortable,” says David. “I have a fully accessible bathroom, and I can work from home and I have a long balcony with a view over the rooftops. I love it!”
Accommodation that gives you choice
Living in a new apartment is more than enjoying a wonderful new space. What David values most is Home Caring’s empowering approach to SDA accommodation. “The good thing about Home Caring is that they support customer empowerment, which is really important,” says David.
“They know we can all make decisions for ourselves – even the smallest decision – and support our growth and development as people, and it’s very rare that you find that in our sector. Living at Schofields, I’m my own boss, which is terrific.”
A large part of this empowering approach is having good communication between customer and provider. Home Caring Group Chief Operating Officer, Michaela Brown, and her team work collaboratively with David to provide his support, with open lines of communication.
“David is a great customer who is always vocal about his wants and needs. I catching up with him regularly – we have open and transparent communication that is based on respect from both sides. We always have a good laugh and are able to problem solve together quickly,” says Michaela.
“We bounce ideas off each other to ensure that David is empowered to live his life independently, as he chooses. There is clear communication and we have developed a great rapport over the years we have worked together.”
Advocating for others
David is also committed to helping other people with disabilities become empowered over their lives. Alongside studying counselling and volunteering with the Australian Prison Fellowship, David has launched a disability channel on YouTube as part of his advocacy work.
“Right now, there are only two stories being told about people living with disability. We are heroes to be inspired by, or people who you should feel sorry for. A lot of us just get on with our lives and achieve something,” he says.
For David, this sense of achievement goes hand in hand with helping other people find success with SDA accommodation. “We’re delighted to partner with David at Schofields. He has been very helpful in ensuring that future residents have a smooth transition and autonomy in their lives,” says Michaela.
David adds that he’s more than happy to help people find empowerment in their care. “I put a high price tag on communication, and I think it’s important that providers and their staff communicate well,” he says.
“I’m here at Home Caring’s disposal and I look forward to having a regular customer engagement with them over the years.”