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Mick’s enjoying his life on the water with the NDIS

Jan 30 2020

Like many Gold Coast blokes, Mick Brown loves spending his free time out on the water.

A passionate fisherman, Mick has used a wheelchair following an accident in 1995.

Living on his houseboat at Hope Island Marina, Mick is now able to enjoy his coastal lifestyle to the full once more with the support of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Mick says that he struggled for years to find adequate support before the NDIS arrived on the coast in 2018.

Since joining the NDIS, Mick gets support to access the community and maintain his independence.

“I have support workers that come in the morning and give me a hand with showering and all that sort of stuff. They set me up for the day. Then my support worker Glenn comes around to help me access the community,” he said.

Mick has also received a new wheelchair from the NDIS that has improved his mobility.

“I got a new chair that comes with Smart Drive technology which helps me up hills.

“I have a mate from Santa Barbra who lives at the top of the hill. In a regular wheelchair you can get to the bottom of the hill but you come to a point where you can’t push anymore, it’s like ‘cardiac hill’.

“Now with the smart drive, I double tap and off I go up the hill. I have been waiting for years and years to be able to do that,” he said.

Mick self-manages his NDIS plan, something he says allows him the flexibility to arrange supports that suit his lifestyle.

“The experience with the NDIS has all been pretty positive,” said Mick.

“I would highly recommend anyone going self-managed. It gives you the freedom to have a better quality life. Life’s pretty good at the minute because I have control over getting what I need to get.

“Being self-managed I can find someone like Glen who suits my lifestyle and is accustomed to the help I need. He is very professional about the way he carries himself. When you are self-managed you have the option to find people like that.”

Glen Eason, who works with Mick as a support worker, says the NDIS has made a big difference to Mick’s quality of life.

“Before the NDIS, Mick was struggling with an old bed and wheelchair. When the NDIS arrived all the things he needed were done straight away. All the new equipment has totally changed his life. He is more active, his social life has improved. Without the NDIS he wouldn’t have had the same opportunity,” said Glen.

In recent years, Mick has been able to combine his passion for boating with his intricate knowledge of the needs of people with disability, launching his charter boat for people with disability in 2017.

Mick’s boat, Pacific Wind Cruises, is wheelchair friendly and features an elevator for wheelchair users to reach the top deck, accessible toilet and shower facilities and a wheelchair friendly kitchen.

“It’s great to do a bit of work with people with disability, taking people out on the boat fishing.”

“We do a three or four hour run. Sometimes we head down to Wavebreak Island down near Sea World, or go up the river. We do a bit of fishing, maybe a bit of dolphin sighting. If people are keen to do a bit of swimming through the summer we can lower the ramp and have a dip.

“Everyone generally has a pretty good time out there. I just want to give everyone who has a disability the same opportunity to enjoy what I have had every day for the last 11 years on the Gold Coast.”

With the aid of an automatic personal flotation device, Mick was able to go for a swim for the first time in 27 years.

“I sat there floating in the ocean for about 45 minutes, there were dolphins swimming around. It was absolutely unreal.”

Carers Queensland can support you to find out more about the NDIS, to apply for funding and to help you get started using your NDIS plan.

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 local community.

To find out more about how the NDIS and Local Area Coordination program can work for you, visit Carers Queensland NDIS Local Area Coordination Partner in the Community Program for the Gold Coast region, 207 Suite 10, Currumburra Road, Ashmore or call (07) 5671 7600

You can also contact Carers Queensland on 1300 999 636, or cq.enquiries@ndis.gov.au