Midlas to host free forum for youth with disabilities during Youth Week

Justine Clarke and Bec Dewar. Picture: David Baylis
Justine Clarke and Bec Dewar. Picture: David Baylis

MIDLAS will be running a free forum for youth with a disability on April 6 at the Midland Town Hall as part of Youth Week celebrations in April.

General manager Justine Clark said the forum would focus on bringing youth together to discuss and collaborate on the big issues they were experiencing.

“We were successful in receiving a grant from the Local Government Minister to hold the forum and the City of Swan has also supported us through providing transport services and a grant to write up forum outcomes for publishing,” she said.

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“We will be discussing people’s thoughts on how services and organisations can engage youth with a disability to lead a better life as well as the value and power of self-advocacy.”

Disability rights advocate Bec Dewar, who has autism and an intellectual disability, will co-facilitate the event.

Ms Dewar said the forum would run as a World Cafe Table with small groups of people gathering around tables to examine issues from independence to relationships and transport.

“Transport is particularly an issue for young people with a disability,” she said.

“I work at the Crown Casino and rely on my parents to pick me up because I can’t access the Taxi Users’ Subsidy Scheme.

“A lot of people with disability really struggle to get around particularly those who live in outer suburbs such as Ellenbrook and the Hills. Not everyone has parents who can drive them around.”

Earlier this month Midlas was named the 2017 Richard Fletcher Award winner at the Consumer Protection Awards.

Ms Clark said for 25 years the not-for-profit community legal centre had offered free financial, emergency relief, legal, tenancy and disability advocacy services for vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers north-east of Perth.

“Although Midlas engages with vulnerable clients from various cultural backgrounds and life circumstances, our nomination for this award was focused on our support for clients with a disability,” she said.

“Many clients with disability are at risk of unemployment, financial literacy and instability, mental health issues, domestic violence issues and homelessness.

“Their vulnerability to these risk factors impacts on their ability to self-advocate in consumer protection matters and often require intensive support and advocacy.”

Tickets for the youth forum can be booked through Eventbrite or calling Midlas on 9250 2123.