Testimonials & Stories
Real Community Services has a substantial history of supporting clients to achieve previously unattainable outcomes
Below are a number of testimonials and clients stories of individuals supported by Real Community Services.
Meet Larry Stumer. Larry has lived with a spinal cord injury for 27 years which he sustained in a traffic accident at age 34, which left him paralysed from the heart down. Larry has lived on his own since being discharged from hospital at a time when there was no follow up support services to access. Here Larry tells us his story."
My name is Larry Stumer. I have lived with a spinal cord injury for 27 years. This, I sustained in a traffic accident at age 34 and it has left me paralysed from the heart down. I have lived on my own since being discharged from hospital at a time when there were no follow up support services to access. I continued to do the things I needed to survive like basic shopping, doctors’ appointments and meal preparation. I had no social life to speak of and never went out to the movies, art galleries, and bars etc. I also lost my preinjury employment and friendships. I felt that this was going to be my lot in life from now on.
This was how it was for 20 years until I became unwell. Losing my strength and suffering continual fatigue. I could no longer drive my car. It was only through a Hospital rehab program that I was referred to local support services and received some domestic cleaning which was 1.5 hrs per fortnight. This was eventually reviewed and I also received social support which allowed me to start getting out and about. Since being in a wheelchair, I had sidelined my previous interest in photography.
Then along comes the NDIS, which I’d like to say was not a pleasant experience. All that pre-launch hype about perusing your goals and doing the things you wanted to achieve etc. I felt that the NDIS didn’t really take my goals seriously. So ensued a painful, drawn out process of trying to get the support hours I needed. I selected Real Community Service as a supports provider after a chance conversation at a local Fresh Futures Market. After hours supports, (where needed), were no problem and I was given the best support staff I’ve ever had.Not only am I doing some of the things I need and wish to do, but I’m enjoying my life again. I now participate in a local authority community reference group, photograph and video the Ipswich Fresh Futures Market, exhibit my own work, and volunteer artwork for community fundraisers. I have finally been able to stage my debut exhibition, which was held in Brisbane City.
Neil is a quiet, kind hearted person with a quick wit who I was instantly able to strike up a conversation with. Now in his 50’s, Neil had an accident at home in 1999 where he incurred a serious brain injury, his recovery is ongoing."
Neil was originally from Melbourne, moved to Queensland as an apprentice and finished his training to become a Fitter & Turner. He is not ashamed of his injury nor some of its limitations. His usual week has a full schedule of exercises and activities with a wonderful support crew. On hearing more of his accident history and to where he is now, I find his recovery to be nothing short of miraculous.I met with Clive and Neil at the Helensvale Aquatic Centre. Clive is one of a team of Support Workers. Each week Neil goes swimming, ten pin bowling, works out at the gym, as well as wood working and remedial classes. As we discuss his busy life, Neil confides how his Speech Therapist has helped him immensely “… after the accident I couldn’t comprehend anything, now I can read again “. The ability to focus on what he can do as opposed to what he can’t do comes naturally to him, and he often mentions how grateful he is for his support network. Neil explains how Amy (RCS support worker) cooks his evening meals. “Every second Thursday we have a cook up and freeze the meals so I have enough for a fortnight. That way I have ready-made, nutritious meals at home”. He lets out a dry chuckle and says “I’ve got it made, all I did was have an accident and survived …. but don’t try it at home”. Clive then provides me with feedback about the people he works with from the office. He mirrors Neil’s comments about them being a good crew. The Crew being Jeannette Brown (Service Manager), Dianne, Mitch and Kerrie (Support Facilitators). Clive recalls how Dianne (Neil’s Support Facilitator), had offered valuable insight to a particular client concern. Jeanette Brown, Mitch and Kerrie have always been available, he added. It was good to hear (from Clive) that he appreciates his regular pay. “I always get paid (he said) put that with the right client and its happy days”. Its finding the right client / care worker relationship that is important. He goes on to say how grateful he is that RCS has such a strong, ongoing commitment and how that they/we make a difference to so many lives. Neil plays snooker in what he calls “The Village “. The Village is a gated community of Over 50's style -2 to 3 bedroom houses, along with Snooker Hall, small theatre & pool. He lives in an easily maintained home with a house cleaner in every two weeks. Case workers come and go from there and it seems like a quiet almost idyllic place to live. Another happy client! It had been great talking to these guys, we’ve spent the best part of an hour catching up, had a few laughs and enjoyed each other’s company. I saw them off in the car park and again was reminded what an amazing team RCS are. This shift was typical of many others happening in South East Queensland that day.It’s awesome the people we have the privilege to meet & support.
Connar, who has Autism and needs support to fully participate in some day to day activities, has only recently started receiving support by registered provider Real Community Services (RCS), using funding provided by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
Eighteen-year-old Connar eagerly jumps out of the sparkling blue waters of the busy Orion Springfield Lakes water park with a beaming smile to meet me. Typical of Connar’s take on life, he is excited to share all the great things he enjoys and wastes no time in making me reconnect with my inner-child sense of wonder.
He needed little prompting as we talked about the many varied activities that keeps his week quite full. Typical of most teenagers, some of his favourite things to do are watching Nitro bike stunts, YouTube, hitting the gym, and getting his learners drivers licence. He is also learning how to cook and do some basic banking tasks. However, these things are just at the surface of who Connar is.
RCS Support Worker Glenda who is with Connar today, recalls a story that she was particularly proud of. “Why don’t you tell Trevor about the calendars you bought recently?”. Connar’s face beams as tells me about the time that he went to buy a Nitro calendar for himself but instead came out having bought his two older brothers a ‘sharks and storms’ calendar because he knew they would really like that. “I really love my brothers,” Connar said. It was easy to get the sense of nostalgia and love he has for his family.
Connar enjoys going to the gym and eagerly gave me an active demonstration of how he performs his lunges. While talking with me he also recounts games of ten pin bowling where he gets the occasional strike which makes it even more fun.
Connar told me he enjoys singing and has been writing a couple songs for whom, it remains a top secret. Needless to say, his songs follow the theme of expressing how much he loves and enjoys his family. As I glance over to Glenda, I notice that she is beaming due to the genuine pride she holds for his caring nature. I can’t help but also feel a sense of pride even though I’ve just met him for the first time.
When speaking with Glenda, who was first employed as a Support Worker with Real Community Services in 2015 she said, “I really enjoy working for RCS and getting to work with someone as lovely as Connar”. As we talk briefly about balancing our reporting and audit requirements, legislative awareness and matching the participants needs, I am reminded again about a strong intent of RCS’s to find wonderful people with a great work ethic, who enjoy their job and do it with the right purpose. I know that RCS will not always get it perfect because we’re all human, but I know we’ve got it right for Connar.
I thank Connar for allowing me to meet with him and reassure him that he will see the few photos (including the selfies using my phone) that he has taken. I turn and thank Glenda for the fabulous and important work she is doing and making time to speak with me. Connar has a lovely character and an infectious happy disposition. While accessing RCS using the NDIS funding, Connar’s family is intent on broadening the people and support network in his life which I am sure he will be using to his maximum advantage.
Mum: “Eight years ago my daughter was involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. After residing at an aged care facility for five years she moved into her own home supported by RCS. During the three years she has been receiving support she has gone from strength to strength…….. I can’t speak highly enough of the amazing dedicated team that have worked to achieve these outcomes for my daughter.”
Helen: A young woman who had sustained a severe acquired brain injury resulting in paralysis down her left side and inability to communicate verbally, started receiving support from RCS in 2010. At this time Helen was a resident at an aged care facility and was rarely out of bed or accessing the community. She had frequent, chronic outbursts of violent and challenging behaviour including self- harming.
Shortly after accessing our service Helen moved into her own home. In collaboration with Helen, her associated allied health professionals and her family, a goal based rehabilitation plan was developed, which was regularly reviewed and updated accordingly.
Three and a half years later Helen has made amazing progress and is:-
- Regularly doing volunteer work in a child care centre one day a week,
- Attending hydrotherapy two days a week.
- Is involved in all aspects of daily living,
- Uses her ipad as a daily journal, and to complete crosswords and puzzle games
- Is using her tilt table every day,
- Loves to go to the local RSL and see cover bands.
- Has been to a Pink concert and Dracula’s
It has been an interesting and challenging journey for all involved, but thanks to all of Helen’s incredible hard work, the dedication and creativity of her support team, allied health professionals and her Mum, we are all looking forward to more exciting progress in the years to come.
“Autism Queensland has had a business relationship with Real Community Services for several years. In that time we have been more than satisfied with the service we have received. We have always found Real Community Services staff to be customer focused and professional in all our dealings. We have also employed several of their support workers permanently as we have been impressed with their attitude professionalism and knowledge for the cohort of people we support” – Glenda Watkins (Manager Disability Operations – Autism Queensland)
Amanda: A young person transitioning from Child Safety to Disability Services arrived in our care with complex physical needs and extreme challenging behaviours. This young lady had previously been supported by a number of Service Providers with limited success and was displaying some of the most extreme behaviours we had witnessed.
Working collaboratively with her parents and our highly trained and experienced support workers specifically matched to her support needs, we were able to quickly develop stradegies to improve her quality of life. Over a period of 12 months were worked closely with SBCS (Specialist Behavior and Clinical Services – the then IBST) to develop and implement a plan to empower this young lady to achieve previously unachievable outcomes. Today she regularly accesses the community, attends community activities, visits our office, participates in her own team meetings and loves her home crafts.
Micheal: A young person requiring emergency and crisis care, entered the Services of a NGO Provider late one Friday evening. Having been religuished from his previous Provider with dual diagnosis and extreme challenging behaviours, we were contacted by his new NGO to commence emergency staffing 2 on 1 – 24/7 support immediately.
Over the following weeks and months we worked collaboratively with his new Provider and the Dept. of Community Services to develop and implement a positive behavioural support plan and identify strategies to support this young man. In addition we supported his new Provider through the period of transition as they recruited for his support, providing training and mentoring to their staff before they commenced his full-time support and care.
Upon ceasing our staffing services this young man had reduced incidents and behaviours, no longer requiring 2 on 1 support.