COOKING ABILITY: Nate Quinell is thankful to Ability Links NSW for helping him secure employment on The Far North Coast.
COOKING ABILITY: Nate Quinell is thankful to Ability Links NSW for helping him secure employment on The Far North Coast.

Nate makes the right link to employment

HAVING owned a successful café on the Central Coast and become known for his signature dishes, Nate Quinell never expected to be out of work.

He is both vision and hearing impaired but, having trained his former staff to support his needs, he'd earned the nickname "The Hurricane Chef" for his expertise in sharpening knives.

When Nate needed to move to the Far North Coast for his new guide dog, Keno, however, he found getting a new job extremely difficult.

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Luckily, Nate was able to enlist the help of Ability Links, a service offered by Social Futures across Far North Coast which taps into an individual's passions and interests and links them with the wealth of skills, connections and goodwill that exists within our regional community.

Nate was able to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and take up part-time employment with Murwillumbah Adult Community College as well as the opportunity to run his own cooking classes. Keno is also a popular mascot at the classes.

"I've really enjoyed the teaching and the class has been really supportive. They all love having Keno around and I've had some really nice feedback from the students," Nate said.

"Ability Links has been a huge support for me through getting my certificate and helping me get out and about in the community.

"I've even been able to do some public speaking which I have really enjoyed."

According to two independent reports released last week Ability Links NSW is improving the lives of people with a disability and their families throughout the state.

Consultants, Urbis Pty Ltd found the Ability Links program returned three dollars to the community for every dollar contributed as well as created a "major shift” in community attitudes towards the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Since its launch in 2014, Ability Links NSW has supported over 1,525 individuals and families across the Far North Coast and worked alongside community members, groups and organisations on 21,703 occasions.

Chief Executive Tony Davies of Social Futures, based in Lismore, said

the NSW State funded program would "support the sustainability of the NDIS by diverting some people away from funded supports and improving the capacity of individuals and communities."

"These reports show that when people have the right supports and are linked into their community, everyone benefits,” said Mr Davis.



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