Westfield Give Ability Day – Doncaster

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

As I noted in my post last week, on the week end I went to Westfield Doncaster to support and see in action the inaugural Westfield Give Ability Day.

Scope for people with a disability
There is one sure fire tell tale sign that there is some special event on, as you walk through a shopping centre and you see lots of kids with balloons. Many of my shopping trips with kids have been made much more fun, with a freebie balloon.

Clustered around the Westfield shopping centre were collection areas for Scope, the local charity that they support. Highly visible with the bright blue and orange balloons and easily heard with the rattling of tins. You could also track your way to the main collection area by the kids with beautifully painted faces, fun shaped balloon creations and balloons on sticks.

Face Painting
For a donation kids could line up and have their faces painted, with an assortment of decorations like glittery rainbows,

Balloon Fun
There was a balloonist extraordinaire who was making the most complex and cute shapes to give to kids for a donation.

Westfield Give Ability Day Doncaster May 2011
And for the bigger kids, they had a photo booth you could have some fun with also for a donation.

John and David
But the real stars of the area were John and David who I had the pleasure to meet (pictured above). Talking to them and their carer who accompanied them to the Doncaster on the day, I was reminded again how easily I can take things for granted. For me to get to the shopping centre, I just hopped in the car and made the short drive. Alternatively I could have hopped on a bus to make my way there with no problem as I am fully able.

John and David had booked a cab in the days leading up to the event. The Scope van that has been a major source of transport for them has recently broken down and is yet to be replaced. There is no easy way they could get public transport from where they lived, so a taxi was there only option. When the alloted time for came for the taxi to turn up, it didn’t show. So much time was spent following up and getting the taxi to come and pick them up – something which is quite a common occurrence apparently.

As I stood and talked to them it was wonderful to see people of all ages come and drop notes and coins into their collection tins. John and David both live in supported housing provided by Scope. Being able to live in a supported house allows them to live in an accepting environment which grants them independence. Everything is set up specifically for people with disabilities, so they can do as much for themselves as possible.

Scope aims to support and provide independence, freedom and choice for people with a disability. Houses like the one John and David are in are much sought after and demand for places far exceeds supply.

The Westfield Doncaster and Scope Partnership

Before making my way around the centre to see the activities of the day, I had the opportunity to talk to representatives from Westfield Doncaster and Scope which is the local charity this centre supports year round.

Through out the conversation, it became clear that while Westfield Give Ability Day is a key fundraising initiative between the two organisations, they have a very strong relationship that works continuously to raise funds. These funds are critical to help Scope to support people with a disability to achieve their potential in welcoming and inclusive communities.

Examples of other initiatives that Westfield Doncaster have set up for Scope are:

  • At Christmas time, charging retailers a gold coin donations for parking off site.
  • Collecting gold coin donations for the school holiday activities they have in the centre.

But it is not only about raising money. Westfield uses the resources it has available to support Scope with its goals in many ways, including:

  • Westfield allocates a day a year to all their staff for volunteering. Many of the Doncaster team had spent the day before at Scope’s Montclair Family Respite in Glen Waverley. The facility received a complete make over, with painting, new carpet, cleaning etc. This centre provide parents/carers with a much needed break.
  • Providing pampering days for the parents of children with disability. Setting up the Styling Sessions for the adults and supervised activities for the kids so the parents could relax and enjoy themselves.

Westfield staff volunteered their time to collect the funds for Give Ability Day and from those staff members I spoke to, all were very happy to be there and proud to be contributing to an organisation like Scope that makes such a big difference to lives of many living with a disability. 100% of the money raised on Give Ability Day went directly to Scope.

How you can help Scope

Scope Victoria
There are plenty of ways individuals can help Scope to help those with disabilities:

  • Join as a Scope Member
  • Volunteering
  • Become a Scope Young Ambassador (A program for kids which aims to create more inclusive communities though disability awareness, education and connections with the community.)

You can see even more ways to get involved on the Scope website.

Did you make it to your local Westfield shopping centre for Give Ability Day?