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WA-based mobility project receives top honours at national awards

Victoria Park based disability service provider VisAbility has been announced winner of the Outstanding Organisation Award at the 2018 HESTA Community Sector Awards.
 
Presented in Sydney last night, the award recognised the cutting-edge delivery of mobility and orientation services to people who are blind or vision impaired using real-time, remote video assistance through the ROAM (Remote Orientation and Mobility) Program. 
 
For the last three years, the ROAM Project team has developed a way to provide instructions from VisAbility’s Victoria Park hub via a video link, connecting the staff with regional clients. O&M specialists can give advice in real time, assisting a client and their carer as they move around their local community. 
 
The team became aware of the long delays, sometimes stretching for months, that regional and remote clients were experiencing while waiting to receive Orientation and Mobility services. These delays were caused due to the expensive nature of providing O&M services; there are very few O&M providers in WA as the specialised skill is not taught within the state.  
 
“We wanted a fast, efficient and effective way to help meet clients’ needs. If you imagine being blind and effectively house bound, this service helps give people their independence, which is life changing and completely transformative,” said Dr Clare Allen, VisAbility’s Chief Executive Officer.
 
“Our team at ROAM came up with the idea and developed the use of the technology. There is really nothing like this program anywhere else in the world.”
 
“On behalf of VisAbility, I am thrilled to have accepted this award. I am so proud of our team who are really showing that we can lead the world in helping people who are blind or vision impaired connect with their community and the world around them.” – Dr Clare Allen said.
 
HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey said this year’s winners have all made invaluable contributions to social justice and displayed outstanding leadership skills in developing programs advocating for and supporting those in need. 
 
“The hard work and heart and soul they have put into building stronger communities is truly inspiring. We’re immensely proud to be able to help recognise them through the HESTA Community Sector Awards.” – Debby Blakely said.
 
VisAbility’s ROAM Project was selected from 10 national finalists. Congratulations to the fellow finalists in the Outstanding Organisation Categories, and the winner of the Unsung Hero Award Sue Miers and the National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and the winner of the Social Impact Award End Rape on Campus Australia. 
 
The winner of each award category will share in a $30,000 prize pool. VisAbility’s portion of the prize money will be used to take ROAM to the next stages, and include the upgrade of technology and the raising of awareness about the program so that VisAbility can empower many more people living with disability.
 
ABOUT VISABILITY
VisAbility has provided innovative, life-changing services to people living with disabilities for more than 100 years.
 
Their professional therapy and support services assist people across a range of ages and disabilities in their homes, at school, at work and in the community.
 
VisAbility is helping to shape a world where people with disability have the same right to participate, the same range of options, the same level of freedom and the same control over their day to day life as any other person. It’s an exciting world to be part of. To be leading.
 
ENDS
 
Photography:
High resolution photography of award winners is available from the HESTA media centre by emailing mediarelations@hesta.com.au
 
For further information or photo opportunities please contact:
 
Danielle Gault
Communications Coordinator
VisAbility
Email: danielle.gault@visability.com.au
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