Independence thanks to Facebook group

A group of volunteers from the Pay it Forward, Northern Suburbs of Perth Facebook group helped Peter Hall move into his first rental. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d421171
A group of volunteers from the Pay it Forward, Northern Suburbs of Perth Facebook group helped Peter Hall move into his first rental. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d421171

Determined to live independently, Peter Hall moved from his parents’ home in Ocean Reef to a Balcatta rental unit a fortnight ago.

Mr Hall, who has cerebral palsy, said he was passionate about people with disabilities living in the community, and accessing support networks of their own age.

‘This arrangement might be in some aspects harder than in care facilities, I have always said a care facility is not for me,’ he said.

‘Pay it Forward donated all my furniture and saved me quite a bit of money in the long run.

‘My support teams make it work so I can have an independent life.’

Prior to moving, he contacted the Facebook group, ‘Pay It Forward, Northern Suburbs of Perth’, and administrator Nicole Abbott posted an appeal for people to give furniture and household items to an anonymous recipient.

‘As the page is predominantly ‘paying it forward’ where members give away items rather than too much ‘asking’, we ask members to contact admin if they have a bigger request,’ Mrs Abbott said.

‘In Peter’s case admin then asked members anonymously (all these members gave items, just putting their trust in us that it was going to someone worthwhile) to donate any items from a big list.

‘I have a daughter with a disability myself and work as a disability project officer, so to hear of someone in Peter’s circumstances struck a chord with me.

‘I thought we could help him start an independent life ” something in most circumstances similar to Peter’s is out of reach for people and they end up in a nursing home, with elderly, sick people.’

The Carramar resident said about 25 people donated items, while another 30 people offered goods as well, and seven offered to help transport items.

‘The bigger items included a fridge, recliner, bedroom chest of drawers unit, sofa, washing machine, TV cabinet, pantry, laundry and bathroom items,’ she said.

‘There also were those who couldn’t donate items but generously donated their trailers, utes and fuel to pick up and deliver items.’

Mr Hall said while he still needed more things, including funds to repair his car, a security system and air-conditioning, he would continue to pay forward any kindness he received through his advocacy and public speaking.

In 2011, he won the Motivate! Woodside category of the WA Youth Awards, and in the same year, was on the Youth Parliament committee, where he tabled his stigmatised health disadvantages awareness act.

‘There’s still this inherent fear that we (people with disabilities) are a separate community,’ Mr Hall said.

‘Those barriers are being broken down everyday, by having your own house, with your support your own age.

‘We need to look at universal access ” wouldn’t it be great to just have houses accessible to everyone?’

Sarah Cragg started the Pay it Forward, Northern Suburbs of Perth group about 18 months ago, which now has 10 administrators, about 8400 members and a wait-list about two-weeks’ long.

Due to demand, she also created similar groups for the southern and eastern suburbs.

With a background in public relations and as a motivational speaker, Mr Hall said he was looking for work. His email address is peterbistruphall@hotmail.com.