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Carer Services: 07 3900 8100 NDIS Services: 1300 999 636

Burpengary East business owner’s NDIS journey to maintain independence

Feb 10 2020

Small business owner, Fiona, is busy raising her young family, building her inclusive travel business, and utilising her National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan to support her lifestyle.

After 25 years in the travel industry, Fiona leapt into self-employment and accessible travel for people with a disability in 2017.

“It took me six months to make the decision, but I knew it was a no brainer to go out on my own and specialise in accessible travel,” Fiona said.

“Every person with a disability is different and their needs are different. People just don’t know where to start when it comes to travel – I didn’t.”

“I was in my wheelchair at 19 and it was an overnight change. I woke up with a sore neck and from that night onwards, I was paralysed from the neck down. I think people feel comfortable talking to me as I was in a similar situation.”

Before starting her first job, Fiona’s immediate thought was, ‘Who’s going to hire me?’ At 22 years of age, she was drawn to the travel industry and began working for Qantas, before making the successful transition into self-employment.”

When not in the office, you can find Fiona with her kids on the walking tracks near her home. To support her independent lifestyle, Fiona purchased a handcycle and a smart drive for her wheelchair using her NDIS funding.

“I want to stay as independent and healthy as I can because I still have a young family. I like to get out with my kids and into nature – so the handcycle is great, and as a mobile travel agent I need to be able to get out and visit my clients.

“It was a bit of push before [the NDIS], but with the addition of the smart drive and handcycle, it’s been easier. My shoulders aren’t getting any younger, so this will help me continue to work.”

Fiona is supported on her NDIS journey by Sarah, a Local Area Coordinator at Carers Queensland NDIS Partners in the Community Program for the Moreton Bay region. Sarah has helped to guide Fiona as she navigates the NDIS and finds out what will work for her.

If you have a disability but are not eligible for the NDIS, Carers Queensland staff can also help you identify and link to options for support in your community.

To find out more about how the NDIS and Local Area Coordination program can work for you, contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or cq.enquiries@ndis.gov.au