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UpSkill Q+A with Emma Gee

Summer Foundation Projects Support Officer Helen Jeisman chats with one of the organisation’s Lived Experience advisors and curators, Emma Gee, about the Staying Connected page – a platform where people with lived experience can connect and contribute to the work of the Summer Foundation. 

Emma, you, along with Lu and Gina, work on our Staying Connected project and blog and you’re always looking at ways for the Summer Foundation to engage more people with disability in our work. Given that we are connected to so many support coordinators and allied health professionals through UpSkill – I was keen to get to know you a little better and spread the word!

So, firstly, what is the Staying Connected initiative all about?

Staying Connected was an initiative that stemmed from the HUGE importance of lived experience informing the work we do at the Summer Foundation. It is a platform for people to be in touch with us and access opportunities to share their lived experience.

Why is it important to have a platform like this and what does staying connected mean to you? 

The Staying Connected platform is important because it provides a platform for people to connect – they may like to share their story or view and learn about someone else’s experience. It is also a place where the Summer Foundation can promote opportunities for people to contribute to a range of projects, some paid and some voluntary. For example, contributing to a research study, informing a policy paper or participating in a workshop, maybe even creating a digital clip.

I know for me, sharing my experience as a person with disability with others makes surviving my stroke seem worthwhile. I feel that I can help others navigate (or even mitigate or avoid) encountering similar situations. I also find it really helpful knowing that others are also finding an issue quite challenging and learning from their experience ways that I can manage my own situation differently.

How can support coordinators and allied health professionals support the Staying Connected initiative?

I think support coordinators and allied health professionals can support the initiative by:

  • Connecting people with lived experience to the new Staying Connected page at summerfoundation.org.au/staying-connected
  • Sharing the Staying Connected downloadable flyer with people with lived experience they work with!
  • Ensuring they regularly visit the page to link their clients to new opportunities and ensuring they incorporate lived experience into their work
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