A highlight for members of Loud and Clear Qld is attending VALID’s annual Having a Say Conference in Geelong.
Unfortunately, the conference was cancelled in 2020, and in February 2021 we realised that COVID-19 would prevent the members from traveling to Geelong for this year’s conference.
To find out what the Loud and Clear Qld members would like to do instead, members were asked to complete a survey. The results of the survey were very clear – the members wanted to have their own conference. 3 days & 2 nights, with a mix of fun activities and workshops.
So, from the 27th – 29th October, the first Loud and Clear Qld conference was held at the Alexandra Headland Surf Life Saving Club.
The members worked tirelessly to research, present, negotiate, and decide on all aspects of their conference; including accommodation, venue, workshops, and the concert!
The underlying intent of the conference was to achieve connection, community, and capacity building, which underpinned all decisions of the conference. Along with identifying work opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Connection and community were evident in the partnerships and guest speakers involved. A request from the Self Advocacy Resource Unit (SARU) to live stream the concert resulted in receiving additional funding from them. The production crew were formed and funded through existing partnerships with Equity Works and Aesop Media. Members from SPIRAL’s Script to Screen program were engaged to be part of the production crew, along with Loud and Clear Qld members in the roles of script writer, cameraperson, MC, and floor manager.
Sam, a Year 12 student from Nambour Special School who has an interest in photography, was engaged as the official photographer for the first day of the Conference.
The guest speakers had connections with existing Loud and Clear Qld members and represented an opportunity to highlight the work of the membership.
Overall, the conference provided opportunities, partnerships, capacity building, community engagement, mainstream connections, and skills development. Let’s see how this was achieved.
The conference kicked off with a HUGE concert, with nearly 100 people ready for a night of music and dancing. With the support of SARU the concert was live-streamed across Australia with many tuning in from home to enjoy the show. The production crew did an amazing job bringing the concert to life.
Local band The Outsiders and dancers from Sunshine Troupe kept everyone in the mood to party. Dame Sheila led a team of 3 judges as part of the Red Faces talent contest. Six acts thrilled the crowd with singing, dancing, and playing the saw.
A shout out to those that donated prizes and purchased tickets for the raffles. Loud and Clear Qld raised over $700! Thank you to Maleny Dairies for the family passes and Alex Surf Club for donating vouchers. A special thank you to Loud and Clear Qld members – Deb Costin for donating her painting and Colin for making coat hangers.
Thursday started with breakfast at the beach followed by a beach access talk from Jane Goodwin, Community Development Officer, Sunshine Coast Council. We learned about Mobi-Chairs and how to safely access the beach. Everyone had a turn in the Mobi-Chair and enjoyed time in the ocean.
Ashley Robinson, CEO of the Alex Surf Club, was our lunch time guest speaker. He kept us entertained with stories about the origin of the surf club and the bands that have played there over the years. Ashley also spoke of the many fundraising events he had been involved in, and spoke about future fundraising opportunities for Loud and Clear Qld to be involved in, including the Island Charity Swim. Jett Kenny also dropped in to say hello and have a few photos taken.
The afternoon saw the learning continue with Penny Hamilton presenting the Art of Conversation workshop. Penny guided us through a series of activities to understand the importance of conversation and how to communicate more effectively.
Friday morning meant checking out of our lovely accommodation at Alex Beach Resort. Breakfast on the beach was followed by the serious topic of Abuse and Neglect. Beth and Matt facilitated the workshop shared with us by VALID. Participants identified 5 people for their Hand of Trust and heard about the importance of speaking up if things aren’t right.
Caroline Hutchinson from 92.7 Mix FM joined us for lunch and shared her journey to becoming Mix FM’s breakfast radio announcer for 23 years. She presented Loud and Clear Qld member Colin with the OGGIOT (Our greatest gift is our time) award for his dedication and tireless work that he puts into Loud and Clear Qld. Caroline helped cut the cake to celebrate Loud and Clear’s 7th birthday.
Having finished lunch and enjoyed a piece of cake, it was time to ‘comb the beach’ for some interesting items to enhance Matt from P2P’s ‘Mark Making’ art workshop. Members enjoyed a creative afternoon resulting in taking home their individualised piece of art.
Finally it was time to gather together to debrief 3 big days. A check in with the members confirmed that the objectives of connection, communication, and capacity building had been met.