Established in 2004, Living Distinctive Lives (LDL) is a small family-governed group. The group is focused on creating flexible, personalised, community-based arrangements to support each individual member to live in a place of their own, and to pursue a life that is meaningful to them.
LDL assists each person, with the support of their allies, to decide:
- Where they would like to live
- Who they would like to live with
- How they can be supported to live in their own place with a range of informal and formal supports that meet their needs.
Aim of Living Distinctive Lives
LDL is a creative alternative to congregate care models for people who would like, or need to live separately from their families, but remain well connected and supported by them.
- Create maximum opportunity for people to be genuinely included in and contribute to their local communities
- Work with community, one person at a time to establish reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationships
- Extend each person's learning, participation and decision making capacity
- Enable families plan for the long term wellbeing of their child with a disability and themselves as long-term carers
- Benefit community members who form relationships with the LDL member including their skills and understanding of interacting with people with a disability.
Guiding principles of Living Distinctive Lives
LDL, its members and workers are committed to the following principles. They form a foundation for planning and action, and act as a reference point as people more towards their vision of a good life.
- All individuals have the right to a meaningful life in the community
- All individuals have the right to decide where they want to live, who they want to live with and how they want to live
- A circle of supportive people is essential to the well-being of individuals in the community
- Home is about being connected to the community and having valuable roles and relationships
- Life planning should be creative and driven by the individual and those closest to them
- The needs and preferences of individuals change over time and they should be supported through these changes to ensure a healthy and satisfying life.
How Living Distinctive Lives is funded and supported
LDL acknowledges the ongoing support from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. This support enables the employment of a part-time coordinator to work with LDL members in achieving their goals for a place of their own in the community. See Our Stories for further information and evaluation.
Previously LDL has received grant funding from the Scanlon Foundation. Recieving funded for a 2-year project enabled LDL to expand and deepen its work, concentrating on accommodation as well as successfully supporting individual members with a disability to develop relationships, roles and connections in the community. Boroondara Council also funded LDL to facilitate a project that supported local citizens with a disability to create a home within their community. See Our Stories for further information and evaluation.
As an unincorporated group, LDL is hosted by Melba Support Services who provides administrative and accounting support and framework necessary for the group to function. Melba has developed a positive partnership with the Governance Group, allowing them to make decisions that matter to LDL. They do not seek to influence who the members are or how members choose to plan or go about supporting their child, or the work of the staff. However, they do seek to support the families as leaders and endeavour to improve their systems to reflect the nature of individualised and hosted arrangements by being as transparent as possible with financial accountability and decision making. LDL has an arrangement with Melba Support Services outlining the roles and responsibilities of each party.
LDL is currently seeking funding to ensure that this depth of work can continue and expand.