14 April 2024

On Wednesday, 10 April, local community members came together for an Open Day at Ability Options’ inclusive Short-Term Accommodation services location on the Coffs Coast, The Retreat. 

Welcoming people with disability, their families and caregivers, staff at Ability Options were joined by representatives from other local not-for-profits, along with Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh to learn more about The Retreat and the short-term accommodation supports we offer. 

Attendees enjoyed connecting with each other over morning tea and BBQ lunch and were particularly delighted with the craft activities and visit from some furry friends from the Ability Options Farm! 

Senior Manager of Disability Services on the Mid-North Coast Frank praised staff at The Retreat for their hard work, both in organising and hosting the Open Day and for their continued commitment to supporting their participants. 

“Being here and hearing the stories of participants who just can’t wait to return after a stay at The Retreat is testament to the terrific work of our teams,” Frank said. 

“Their understanding of the people they work with, tailoring their stay to include their unique interests and ensuring our guests feel welcome, comfortable and supported really makes The Retreat seem like a home away from home.” 

Ability Options participant Jarrod had his first stay at The Retreat recently. Feeling isolated at his home in the Bellingen Hinterlands, Jarrod was seeking social connection and a way to build his independence away from his home life. 

“Jarrod can be a little shy, but when he’s in his element he is a very social person,” said Jarrod’s mum Michelle. 

“Jarrod really wants to be independent, so a stay at The Retreat seemed like a perfect stepping stone to help him build his confidence and have new experiences. Immediately when we arrived at The Retreat, Jarrod was at ease. The staff had got to know Jarrod before his stay and had decorated his room in Manly Sea Eagles colours. This, along with the supportive staff, really helped Jarrod feel comfortable.” 

Michelle says her son has “really come out of his shell since being in a new environment with the staff at The Retreat”. 

“Jarrod’s Support Worker Danny really helped him come out of this shell. They supported Jarrod during his stay and built a kind of mate ship with him,” she said. 

“They encouraged him to do what comes naturally, express himself and try new things. On their trip to the Big Banana Jarrod went down the Giant Slide – something he would never have done before!” 

The other guests at The Retreat and Jarrod all got along really well. The book of memories that Jarrod got to take home with him is now a treasured item.  

“He’s been nagging me since he left to book another stay – so he’s coming back very soon for another visit at The Retreat,” said Michelle. 

“We couldn’t be happier with the support and service we’ve received and would recommend The Retreat to anyone looking for respite accommodation.” 

Short-Term Accommodation (STA) services offered to participants by Ability Options are safe and relaxing spaces for people with disability for planned or short breaks.  

STA services offer stays for people with disability to relax, attend out of area appointments or to simply take a break while family or carers have time away from their daily routines. 

Everyone deserves a break and the chance to explore new experiences and living environments.  

To find out more about what Ability Options STA can do for you, visit our accommodation services page today. 

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