As P2P celebrates its 25th anniversary, I have been reflecting on the 23 ½ years since I started working at P2P.
I was originally offered a three month contract starting February 2000 working two days a week. At the time there was Julie and I in a paid role, supported by some wonderful volunteers. We worked in a very small office in Yandina’s main street.
My memories from those early days include using dial up internet to access the National Organisation for Rare Diseases (N.O.R.D.). I would look up and print information about a particular disability that a family had phoned about. This information would be posted to the family.
By 2001, we had received additional funding and were running peer groups in multiple regional towns across Queensland with training for parents by parents a major focus of our work.
The funding included $375 per quarter to cover the cost of each group’s rent, electricity, stationery and other operational costs. There was finally some money to pay the many volunteers who had generously given their time to support parents and carers. It was, however, only 5 hours per week.
In 2006 we received additional funding from the Queensland Government that allowed us to engage one administrative assistant and 4 Facilitators. Our work included planning for ageing carers of people with a disability.
In 2007 we moved to a bigger office just outside the Yandina township and finally had our own training room. We went on to deliver many sessions to parents and carers as well as to people with disabilities.
In 2023, reflecting on everything that has happened, I have identified the two of the things that I am most proud.
The first is the opportunity to provide paid administration and facilitation positions to people with intellectual disabilities. Our current federal Government grants mean that at the time of writing this article, we have 7 people in these roles.
The second is the creation and ongoing support of the Loud and Clear Qld Self-advocacy group which celebrates its 8th birthday this year.
I have been fortunate to work with many amazing people in my time and witnessed fantastic results for parents and for people with disabilities. I look forward to seeing what the future holds.