PEOPLE with disability across Tasmania will have access to greater support to participate in community activities and strengthen their self-advocacy skills thanks to a $929,000 grant from the Liberal Government.

Disability organisation Speak Out Association of Tasmania has been provided with a grant of up to $929,404 to fund its ‘Peers for Success’ program, which will combine the positive impact of peer support networks with self-advocacy and empowerment education.

All activities will be codesigned and cofacilitated by people with intellectual disability.

The Peers for Success program will reinvigorate peer-led networks impacted by COVID-19, extend networks and groups in hard to reach environments, upskill people with intellectual disability as peer educators, facilitators and mentors, deliver the Road to Success Self Advocacy Program, and extend Speak Out’s individualised leadership development program.

Peers for Success will assist more than 350 people and is set to roll out in July.

It will be delivered across the state, with capacity-building activities focusing on areas in the south, north-west, west coast and north of Tasmania.

“People with intellectual disability have many skills and talents to mentor each other, raise community awareness about issues of importance, and lead change,” Speak Out manager Jenny Dixon said.

“Our Facebook traffic increased by more than 1000 per cent during COVID-19 as people sought support and information, and this grant is a timely investment in working towards the goal for a more inclusive society that enables all Tasmanians to participate in their community.”

Senator Eric Abetz said the program was very significant as one in five Tasmanians were living with a disability.

“Speak Out Association of Tasmania is therefore a much-needed organisation providing personalised advocacy and support to people with intellectual disability across our state,” he said.

“COVID-19 has had a negative impact on connectedness, motivation, independence and empowerment for people with disability, and this grant will greatly advance the chances of people with disabilities living an ordinary life, developing a positive sense of knowing who they are, as well as their value and rights.”

The grant is being delivered under the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grants program.

ILC provides funding to organisations to deliver projects in the community that benefit all Australians with disability, their carers and families.

For more information, visit https://www.speakoutadvocacy.org/.

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