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Access Housing and FMCS collaborate to ‘tool up’ on disability inclusion

21 Aug 2020

Fremantle Men’s Community Shed (FMCS) will enhance its capacity for the inclusion of people with a disability following the completion of The Shed project, which was done in collaboration with Access Housing and Access Housing tenants living with a disability.

The Shed project was an 18 month collaboration that aimed to identify areas of strength and where improvements could be made regarding FMCS’s inclusion of people with a disability to access and participate in activities like wood and metal work, gardening, volunteering and music at FMCS. The project was made possible thanks to a Department of Communities NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant.

The Shed project measured engagement, aspiration and capacity outcomes for people with a disability and the sector (FMCS and support services) in regard to disability inclusion at FMCS. More than 50 people participated in the project, including Access Housing tenants living with a disability and their carers / support workers, FMCS and Men’s Shed WA representatives, disability support sector representatives and Access Housing staff.

Access Housing Tenant Support and Capacity Building Manager Alison Paterson said The Shed project’s model was underpinned by the acknowledgment that people with a disability are the experts in, and of, their own lives and are best placed to lead discussions on what works well and what doesn’t regarding inclusion and accessibility.

The Shed project used a co-design method where project participants shared experiences and challenges to develop solutions around disability inclusion at FMCS,” Ms Paterson said.

“Outcomes from co-design groups were analysed and inclusion strategies that were identified during groups were then trialled by project participants at FMCS.”

Fremantle Men’s Community Shed President Mark Thomas said FMCS collaborated with Access Housing and Access Housing tenants on the project to ensure FMCS was reaching its potential in terms of providing a best practice approach to full inclusion of people with a disability.

“The Fremantle Men’s Community Shed is committed to being as welcoming, safe, accessible and inclusive as possible for all members of the community,” Mr Thomas said.

“Our shed has proudly welcomed members of the community living with a disability over a number of years and we look forward to actioning and implementing recommendations from The Shed project report to enhance our existing levels of inclusion and accessibility.”

Findings and recommendations from The Shed project were presented today at FMCS to an audience including City of Fremantle councillors and staff, Department of Communities staff, Access Housing tenants who took part in the project, Men’s Sheds WA and FMCS representatives and disability support workers.

To view a summary report of The Shed project’s findings and recommendations, including those related to access, support, resourcing and inclusion strategies and initiatives at FMCS, please click here.