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Waikato-based charity wins innovation award

Waikato-based charity wins innovation award

19 June 2018

A series of short videos featuring disabled people talking openly and honestly about their lives has been recognised with an innovation award from the New Zealand Federation of Disability Information Centres.

Life Unlimited Charitable Trust picked up the award for a video project led by one of its general managers Catherine Bennett who approached Attitude Live to make the videos using their popular Question Time concept.

The result is 21 innovative and engaging videos made by disabled people for disabled people, their family and supporters. The Question Time series includes interviews with advocate Dr Huhana Hickey, ‘Dancing with the Stars’ contestant Jess Quinn and former Paralympian Daniel Holt.

At the award ceremony held in Palmerston North, organisers said the project stood out because of its beginnings in workshops with disabled people and family members who discussed what they wanted from disability information.

A recurring theme in those discussions was the opportunity to tell their own stories.

Life Unlimited information advisor April Johnson, who attended the ceremony in May and accepted the award on behalf of Hamilton-based Life Unlimited, said working on the Question Time project has been a career highlight.

“Working with people and giving them a platform to share their personal stories is a very humbling experience. So many people and their families have generously agreed to share their stories in the hope it helps others.

“The Diane Rangi award has special significance for the federation, so I felt honoured to accept the award on behalf of Life Unlimited.”

The Question Time videos have been widely watched and shared, with some wonderful feedback from viewers, including:

“Great advice for new quads! This is a really cool resource for people with all kinds of disabilities.”
“Our 5-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with scoliosis, we're very thankful for medical advances. Thank you for the video.”
“I have Spina Bifida as well! This was awesome to watch.”

The videos are available on the Life Unlimited website as part of the Online Information Hub, a wider project designed in consultation with disabled people and their families to deliver disability information to anyone, anywhere in New Zealand in a way that suits them.

Chief executive Mark Brown said he and the board were thrilled at the award and the videos because of the response from disabled people, their families and carers who are watching them.

“Every video promoted through social media channels has thousands of views and are widely shared. We’ve found we are now getting more people coming to Life Unlimited directly and they’re asking more complex questions which we can help with,” he said.

Life Unlimited continues to expand the Online Information Hub by regularly adding written and video content and expanding the ways people can contact the organisation for information, including the addition of Live Chat to the website.

The Diane Rangi Innovation Award was named for a long-serving information consultant at Enable NZ. Before she passed away, Rangi helped design the trophy that will be on display at Life Unlimited over the next year.

Life Unlimited will celebrate its 40th anniversary next year as a charitable trust which provides health and disability information, advice and equipment to enable people to live the life they choose.
Other services offered include:
• Hearing therapy
• Autism information, advice and professional training
• Needs Assessment Service Coordination
• Equipment and assistive technology to support independent living
• Community programmes to foster participation and inclusion.


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