Together for Better Africulture

The Africultures Festival, held at Wyatt Park, Lidcombe almost didn’t go ahead this year. Why isn’t exactly clear. But thank goodness it did because the one-day event was full of sunshine, music, colour and a cheerful atmosphere that was contagious… even if you were there for work – which was the case for some of the Family Mental Health Support Service (FMHSS) Team at Woodville Alliance.

So why did we get involved in the 2017 Africultures Festival in March?

“To celebrate and appreciate the cultural richness of the African community, understand and raise awareness of African traditions and cultural practices within our local community and engage with community members to hear their stories and views on wellbeing,” said Hoda, the FMHSS Manager.

The Life Foundation, like Woodville Alliance, also set up an information stall at the festival. The Life Foundation supports 298 orphaned children by giving all funds from their sold products back to the foundation and orphaned children across Africa.

Mercy from The Life Foundation

Mercy from The Life Foundation

The Africultures Festival is the largest annual celebration of African culture in Australia. The array of dress, talent, culinary delights and community-focused organisations on the day was dazzling.

Among some of the more than 30 performances and activities on the day were:

  • Africultures Literature Hour
  • Afro Hair Forum
  • Africultures Soccer Tournament
  • Africultures Fashion Parade
  • Igbo Community of Australia Women’s Group
  • Berias Masseque and The Afro-Fusion Band
  • Lisa Viola
Lisa Viola. Credit: Africultures

Lisa Viola. Credit: Africultures

Apart from the fun on offer, why is the Africultures Festival an important event? Kimberly Ray – organiser of the festival’s Literature Hour explains.

For musician Berias, this year’s festival has been the biggest and the best. “I don’t know why,” he said. “Maybe because there’s even more people.”

Berias Masseque and The Afro-Fusion Band. Left to right: Sam, Berias, Bryce and Brendan.

Berias Masseque and The Afro-Fusion Band. Left to right: Sam, Berias, Bryce and Brendan.

The colouring-in corner at the Woodville Alliance stand was a hit with the little ones.

Little Donald at the Woodville Alliance Information Stall, colouring in with Woodville Alliance FMHSS Team Member, Daniel.

Little Donald at the Woodville Alliance Information Stall, colouring in with Woodville Alliance FMHSS Team Member, Daniel.

A girl in traditional costume.

A girl in traditional costume.

Woodville Alliance is a non-government community organisation. We have programs that support young people through positive mental health interventions and programs, school-based activities for children transitioning from primary to high school, a community centre for adults that live in and around South West Sydney, a disabilities/NDIS team, a child-care centre and humanitarian support for newly arrived families.

To find out more, call us on (02) 9722 5200.

Dance Diaries launches

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

On Friday 31 March a group of people were treated to the launch of Dance Diaries — a film and dance project which some disAbility Services clients were invited to take part in at the Powerhouse Youth Theatre.

With a wonderful live performance by the dancers involved with the project and a moving film, these clients of disAbility Services, many of whom do not communicate verbally very much, expressed what ‘home’ means to them.

Choreographer Linda Luke, film maker Martin Fox and sound designer Michael Toisuta collaborated with PYT and invited Woodville to take part.

Thank you for the opportunity it gave our clients to express themselves creatively, attend workshops to develop the concepts, be a part of the creative community and put on a performance for their loved ones.


Guest blogger Lauren talks EARTH Echoes choir

When we invited Lauren to be a guest blogger for Woodville, Lauren was a valued volunteer. Lauren agreed to share her story of why she volunteers and what the people who attend our disAbility Services program had taught her.

The twist in this tale is that Lauren now works at Woodville Alliance! Building on her academic training, Lauren is undertaking her disability vocational training at Woodville.

This is the story of why Lauren started to volunteer at Woodville…

Lauren brings her knowledge gained whilst studying music to her volunteering role with Woodville’s Earth Echoes choir. But she feels she has been the student in this relationship.

“I started Volunteering with Woodville Alliance disAbility Services after my twin brother started going to Woodville two years ago. At the Christmas parties I watched the Earth Echoes perform with Montclair. I could see so much potential and I wanted to teach these young adults what I have learnt whilst achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Contemporary Music.

I started teaching them to become performers, on how to draw their audience in, bring emotion to all those around them, to help create their message and showcase what they could do. I started out small knowing they need to learn more skills to bring about their goals and teaching through music was the way to go as that is what they enjoyed and made it easier for them to learn. Montclair agreed.

While teaching them, they themselves have also taught me:

  • Patience — even though I have my brother, who has an intellectual disability, you would think I have patience and buckets of it however I do still get frustrated at him many more times than I’ll actually admit. However the Echoes choir has brought on more patience in me as you have to try to keep their attention on you and be firm so they can learn but not yell at them like you would with a sibling when they refuse to do a task.
  • Courage — It’s hard to go up there on stage and showcase your talent in front of others, I know. However it must be a little more difficult for them because of the challenges they face and I look up to them because of it.

Although I am a teacher of music to them they have also been great friends and every Tuesday they try their best for me when new ideas are created. Thank you Earth Echoes I honestly feel you are the teachers in this relationship.”

Lauren Neilson

Lauren is on Facebook as Lyrical Melodies

carer support group

So you received your NDIS plan? That’s great!

But your head is spinning with more questions than answers? You are not alone.



We’ve heard many of your questions about the NDIS — whether on the phone, at face-to-face meetings, at Woodville’s carer support group meetings and at our information nights — now we want to share answers to the most frequently asked questions.



  1. Will my NDIS plan affect my carer allowance from Centrelink?

No it won’t. Centrelink and NDIS are completely separate to each other. The only way the NDIS will impact on your Centrelink payment is with your mobility allowance. NDIS have their own transport allowance which replaces the mobility allowance from Centrelink.


  1. I’m not happy with my NDIS plan, what do I need to do to get a ‘review’?

Plan reviews do not guarantee a higher amount of funding. Some Woodville client families have experienced this. The review process is not easy.

Detailed documentation is required from doctors, health professionals, service providers etc, in order to back up a review claim.

Woodville is advocating on behalf of our families where needed.


  1. I don’t have a MyGov account set up.

Don’t stress! Either the NDIS will contact you or you can contact the NDIS.

You can send the NDIS your bank details and they will make payment arrangements.


  1. Why has my mobility allowance stopped?

When you have a meeting with your LAC, you need to let them know that you are receiving mobility allowance from Centrelink so they can request for transport allowance under NDIS once the plan is activated. All you need to do is set up your myGov account and linked to NDIS participant portal and put your (or your child’s) bank details on the portal in order to receive transport allowance.


  1. I need an interpreter, is this funded?

When meeting with your Support Coordinator, the service provider should supply an interpreter at their expense where possible. But for other general meeting such as medical appointments, or therapies… you should have the key word- CONSUMABLES- under core support funding. What that mean is that you can have NDIS funding allocated to pay for translating and interpreting.

If you have funding in ‘Consumables’, you can use it for interpreting services.

  1. I don’t have funding for Support Coordination, or Plan Management and I don’t know what to do.

Your LAC should assist you with connecting you to the service and supports. Where it is not possible, you need to request an internal review, and outline to the NDIS planner why you need the hours of support coordination and plan management.  Be aware this is getting difficult now for NDIS to approve funding for both as they have changed their policy on who is eligible for it.  We can assist your with review.


  1. Where can I find Support Coordination?

As you may or may not know, you can contact us for Support Coordination services on 9722 5200.

Innovate Plus is part of Woodville Alliance Disability Services, an approved NDIS provider (provider number 4050003012)

Click here for more information about Innovate Plus or call us on 9722 5200.

Celebrating diversity at the Living Cultures Festival

Celebrating the energy and diversity of Fairfield City and its communities



Fairfield City Council recently hosted The Living Cultures Festival at the Fairfield Museum & Gallery and we were there!


In celebration of Harmony Day, we invited visitors to take a selfie with our Harmony Day selfie frame and welcomed all visitors to our stall to leave their handprint on Woodville’s canvas – a symbol of inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.


Fairfield’s diversity was on display with wonderful cultural performances, music and food.

A big thank you to our dedicated staff who donated their time to attend to our stall – Steven, Nargis and Karisha.

Our Saturday Leisure Link group was also at the Living Cultures Festival.
Leisure Link and Leisure Link Plus are recreational programs that run three Saturdays of every month.

It’s all about fun and accessing the best Sydney has to offer such as museums, festivals and events, cinemas, golf, swimming and much more.
Call Mike on 9722 5200 to book a spot today!