The Minister for Disability Services, Peter Primrose, said the NSW Government has allocated more than $1.28 million so that four community colleges across the State can offer the tailored courses, to provide people with the opportunity to interact with their peers and build social networks.
"The two year Inclusive Community Education Program pilot will also give carers of those attending the classes a break by providing them with regular planned and reliable respite."
Mr Primrose said that a wide range of recreational and leisure classes would be offered after the skills and interests of the applicants were determined."For instance, courses could include sports, music and crafts and other skills such as cooking."
Mr Primrose said that the courses would be aimed at people with a disability who were aged between 18 and 45, had an unpaid carer and who were living in the community.
"There will be no charge for the courses, but there could be a small fee for materials, such as ingredients used in cooking classes."
Mr Primrose said that the Central Coast Community College operating in the Gosford and Wyong Local Government Areas (LGAs) started classes in August while three other Community Colleges would start offering courses soon.He said that an estimated 50,000 hours of classes would be delivered in the two year pilot and that up to 376 students would be given the chance to take part.
People interested in taking part in the classes can apply direct to their local college or through regional offices of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC).
The three other colleges to take part in the program are:
- Sydney Community College, covering Sydney's inner west and eastern suburbs;
- Kiama Community College covering Kiama, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven LGAs;
- Riverina Community College, covering Leeton, Narrandera and Temora LGAs.