Matt Cassles, Josie Donnelly, and Zac Paden from RED Inc, are headed to Alice Springs to speak at the National Disability Services' Disability and Diversity Conference this week. Photo Marnie Johnston / The Northern Star
Matt Cassles, Josie Donnelly, and Zac Paden from RED Inc, are headed to Alice Springs to speak at the National Disability Services' Disability and Diversity Conference this week. Photo Marnie Johnston / The Northern Star Marnie Johnston

Locals talking diversity at national conference

THREE local people from Realising Every Dream Inc (RED Inc) are headed to Alice Springs to speak at the National Disability Services' Disability and Diversity Conference.

This year's national conference, which will explore the theme "pushing the boundaries of disability support", features an eclectic line-up of speakers including the Northern Rivers' own Zac Paden, Indigenous film maker, musician and lead singer of Brotherhood of the Blues, RED Inc support planner and Brotherhood musician Matt Cassles, and RED Inc operations manager Josie Donnelly.

The three have put together a presentation about the Brotherhood of the Blues project, which takes the conference's theme of diversity to heart, they said.

Not only are the band members of the Brotherhood of varying abilities, but they're also from a handful of different origins: From Bundjalung country to England, Singapore to Holland, musicians within the band have been born all over the world, now residing in the Northern Rivers.

The three speakers said they couldn't wait to showcase not only the Brotherhood of the Blues project, but RED Inc's work as a whole.

"We are a service that is really diverse in what we do," Ms Donnelly said.

"RED Inc is all about thinking outside the square and coming up with creative solutions to reach the dreams the guys have."

One of those "creative solutions" was the Brotherhood, which exceeded all expectations to become incredibly successful - so far the band have played countless shows around the region and have recorded a self-titled EP in their one and a half years of being together.

Mr Cassles said he was pleased that the hard work of the Brotherhood members will be shared with others at the conference, and would hopefully inspire others.

Mr Paden said he was having a bit of anxiety over the presentation, but the nerves were balanced with excitement.

Being used to performing with the band, however, he said if you don't have that moment of nervousness before going on stage, "it doesn't feel real - it just feels robotic."

The conference will be held today and tomorrow.



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