I am saddened and deeply disappointed to be announcing that the Victorian State Government have written to us to notify us that they will no longer be funding the Disability Support Fund (DSF).
We have been operating the DSF since 1995 and in that time we have provided small funding grants directly to over 10,000 applicants with mental health conditions.
Those 10,000 people across the Barwon and South West Regions have relied on the DSF to do things like:
- join a local gym to improve their health and to meet people
- take a class at a local community centre and build their social and support networks
- getting badly needed repairs to their car or a driver’s license so they can get to work, to medical appointments or to join a community group
- get a qualification at TAFE to improve their chances of finding employment
- purchase a bike so that they can be active and get to work, study or social commitments in their communities
- join a local sporting or community group
We are very concerned that this decision will have a significant detrimental impact on the mental health of many people in the Region.
The DSF has undoubtedly supported their mental wellbeing through their engagement and inclusion in their local communities.
The DSF has done this by providing small grants directly to applicants with mental health conditions so they can build their community involvement and inclusion. The fund is only available to people with mental health conditions who do not have an NDIS plan.
This decision means that, while we will continue to process and consider applications that have already been submitted, we will not be able to take any further applications for funding effective from 7 June 2023.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Carmel Hendriks, our DSF Project Worker, who has been overseeing the DSF for the last 27 years. She has undoubtedly had a significant positive impact on the lives of all of those 10,000+ applicants.
There are no other current or planned services that provide this kind of direct support in the Barwon or South West Regions and we call on the State Government to reverse this decision and to restore funding to the DSF so that we can continue to support this vulnerable and disadvantaged group of people.