A STATE scheme is helping Hunter adults with a disability live independent lives and easing the strain on ageing parents and carers.
The state government’s Independent Living Support Initiative provides training and other services and helps families develop support networks.
It was designed in collaboration with Down Syndrome NSW, UnitingCare Disability and House With No Steps Hunter Region.
Program participants include Peta Lambert, 37, who has cerebral palsy, an intellectual disability, hearing impairment and epilepsy, and Natalie Howland, 34, who has autism.
They share a house at Charlestown after moving out of their family homes. They received training in how to cook, shop, pay bills, do banking and use public transport.
Neighbours and friends provide daily support, from outings to mowing and putting out the garbage.
‘‘I feel a bit more independent,’’ Miss Lambert said. ‘‘I can make my own choices.’’
Miss Howland said she loved living with Miss Lambert.
Miss Lambert’s mother, Laurel, said the program helped improve the quality of life for people with a disability and their families.
It allowed her to be a mother to her daughter, not just a carer.
Disability Services Minister Andrew Constance said previous services were restrictive.