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Riverland community to benefit from new Novita hub

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People living with disability across South Australia’s Riverland region will benefit from a new Novita therapy hub in Berri.

Novita established a team in Berri early last year in the former Disability SA facility, and now the team has moved into a larger, refurbished hub at 5 Gilbert Street.

The new hub has much more space to deliver Novita’s range of services and supports for people living with disability in the Riverland, as well as their families and carers – and the potential to grow and expand our offerings for clients, especially in the area of therapy groups.

Features of the new Berri hub include an Assistive Technology showroom, an orthotics room, a large group activity room which has a fully equipped kitchen area, and a washing machine and drier.

Novita speech pathologist Samara Nield says the new hub gives the Berri team more capacity to provide different services.

“The new building is more user friendly, with a huge groups room and more therapy rooms, as well as a splinting room. I’m excited to see what new services and supports we can explore,” says Samara.

Samara’s colleague, occupational therapist Jayden Logos, says the kitchen and laundry areas give the Berri team an opportunity to support clients with important life skills.

“I think the new facilities like the kitchen and the laundry are going to benefit a lot of the clients that we see. The old site was a little small and did not provide the flexibility for our new services, so this new site will enhance the work we can do with our clients and their families,” says Jayden.

Among the Berri clients is 10-year-old Brock, who aspires to be a race car driver, and already has a number of trophies on his shelf.

Brock has therapy sessions with occupational therapist Jayden, and Brock’s dad Shane says it’s good to be able to get some support for him.

“It’s been hard to get some help for Brock, but he seems to be doing alright now that he’s seeing Jayden and a couple of the other Berri team members. They’re trying to sort him out,” says Shane.

Brock says he’s one of the younger kids involved in the car racing, but he’s always confident that he’s going to win.

“I have a Nissan Pulsar 1600 and it goes pretty fast. I enjoy working with my brother on our cars. Hopefully one day I’ll have a Commodore,” says Brock.

Another member of the Berri community who receives services and supports from the Berri team is disability advocate Anita Tippl, who’s been a Novita client since childhood.

“What I get from Novita now is support for my money skills and telling the time – that sort of thing. Every time when I have something on the Berri team always makes sure that I’m ok and we fix any issues. I feel like I get listened to,” says Anita.

Like Brock, Anita is also involved in the local car racing scene.

“I volunteer at the Riverland speedway, which I’ve done since I was little. I sell raffle tickets and I watch the gate. I really enjoy it – it gives me an outlet to do something positive for the community, and I love watching all of the cars racing.

“I also enjoy my advocacy work, because some people living with disability don’t have a voice, so I like to use my voice to speak up for those people. It’s something that I love to do because I like to make change. I’ve been trying to fight for ages for more vehicle access for people with disabilities.”

Port Adelaide footy fan Paul is another client supported by Novita’s Berri team. He lives with visual difficulties, and the team also works with Paul on his mobility.

Jayden says as an older client, the team also has to take into account issues such as falls and building Paul’s capacity to move.

“We’re getting Paul a reclining wheelchair to support him moving in and out of his home, plus we’re also looking at some home modifications in the house to make it safer and reduce the likelihood of falls. We’re also looking at some Assistive Technology including a device that enlarges print, so he can read all the newspaper stories about Port Adelaide,” says Jayden.

Paul says Jayden also provides good advice.

“He’s a trained therapist, so he knows what to look for. The last time I went down to Adelaide to look at guide dogs he recommended a couple of things for me to look at while I was there, which is good because I don’t know what I’m looking at,” says Paul.

To find out more about Novita’s services in the Riverland, visit: https://www.novita.org.au/disability-services-in-berri/