It has been 10 years since a disability expo first opened it doors in the North West and now Tamworth can lay claim to hosting one of the largest and most well attended expos of its kind in regional NSW.
While disability expos in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have been drawing thousands of people through their doors for years, the Links for Life Expo in Tamworth and My Future, My Choice Expo in Armidale have become welcoming hubs providing the latest and most up to date information on programs, services, funding, equipment and a great place to network.
“Ten years ago a group of Northern NSW councils, government agencies and not for profit companies came together to plan their first ever disability expos for Northern NSW,” said Lorraine Legge, Regional Manager Northern NSW, Kirinari Community Services and spokesperson for the expo committees.
“The two expos - Links for Life in Tamworth and the My Future, My Choice expo in Armidale - give people from rural and regional areas a chance to have a one-stop shop for disability services.
“Everything they could possibly need is under one roof for one day. It is a great opportunity for families to get more information about the services on offer to them.
“Many organisations are on both committees and the goal is to bring together the best quality organisations and to ensure that Tamworth and Armidale receive the best expo possible.”
Lorraine said many people had been helped after attending the expos in the past.
“We support a lovely man by the name of Mark,” Lorraine said. “Mark came to us and said that there was only one option available to him, which was to work in a sheltered workshop, which he didn’t want to do.
“After talking to Mark we found out that his great love is working with trucks. Mark was supported to find employment at a truck wash and is now a valued member of a local Tamworth business.
“Regular community events such as the Disability Expo see the disability community and business community come together to network with families to offer real solutions to people and their families. We encourage families to attend the expo and meet with service providers”
There will be a large number of organisations at the expos including: disability service providers, disability product vendors, health and medical, automotive/transport vendors, charities and advocacy groups.
The Links for Life Disability Expo will be held from 10am- 2.30pm on September 20 at the Tamworth Sports Dome.
The My Future, My Choice Expo in Armidale is on September 19, from 10am at the Armidale Ex Services Club. Free bus travel is available.