What does My Future, My Choice really mean?
By Kathryn Carey, Head of Events, ImpactInstitute
ImpactInstitute’s Disability Expo Program is the largest of its kind in Australia. This year, we welcomed over 1000 sponsors and exhibitors and over 35,000 people through our doors.
With the program all wrapped up for 2023, it’s a good opportunity to look back and reflect on the year that was.
As I do, I am yet again drawn back to our raison d’etre- My Future, My Choice. It’s as relevant today as it was when we started this journey 10 years ago.
Back then, we were struck by the need for a place for the community to come together to embrace the optimism that was the introduction of the NDIS and what it would offer people with disability – choice and control.
My Future, My Choice is about knowledge, and knowledge is power. It’s essential people understand what their choices are and use that knowledge to plan for their own future.
But over the years something else has happened. A community has been formed, relationships developed, and people celebrated.
There’s a real sense of a movement – and not lip service to inclusivity – actual momentum towards a more inclusive world.
At our Melbourne expo this year we were joined by the Forest Fire Management Victoria who were there to seek the feedback from the community – what services does the community want and need? Something that would have been unheard of 10 years ago.
Is the NDIS perfect? No. Is the world truly an accessible and inclusive place? No. Is it inching closer to that goal? Yes. Do we, as a community, have a long way to go? You bet.
So, in a more inclusive world, what does success look like? That’s the question we asked each of our wonderful ambassadors this year – Yasmin Arkinstall, Alex McKinnon, Reggie Sorensen, Mel Harrison, Ruth O’Brien, Tim McCallum, Mike Rolls and Ben Pettingill.
The reality is there is not just one answer to this question, but My Future, My Choice is definitely something to keep in our sights.
We understand the enormous impact these events can have on our community. Did we make a difference in the lives of people who attend? Yes, we did! How do we know that? Simple – we asked them.
When attendees were asked, “Do you feel the information provided to you at the Expo will assist you with your ongoing care needs?” the response rating was 4.3 / 5. Moreover, 97% of attendees said they either would, or would consider attending an expo again.
We’re excited to announce next year’s program of eight disability expos. In 2024 we are thrilled to be returning to Liverpool (South West Sydney) for the first time since 2019 and to be heading to Geelong for the first time.
These two expos will kick off the year and be followed by expos in Newcastle, Gold Coast, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and then on to Melbourne to round out the year.
Each expo location has its own unique character and we can’t wait to see how these vibrant and diverse communities support our mission to offer people with a disability more choice and more control over how they live their lives and plan for the future.
There’s ample opportunity for community engagement, hands-on participation and the chance to create long-lasting relationships.
They’re also a bucket load of fun. This year we’ve seen dance performances, a fashion show, done the Macarena together, enjoyed outstanding singing, got up close and personal with some creepy crawlies courtesy of Sydney Zoo and welcomed a llama to our Gold Coast Expo!
Looking to get involved?
If you’re considering sponsoring or exhibiting at our expos, there’s a whole host of reasons why you should! Download the 2024 Program today for details on sponsor and exhibitor opportunities. Spots fill up quickly so don’t delay.