Jane Standen: GiveAbility: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

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Jane Standen: GiveAbility: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

Mother gives the gift of mobility and socialisation

Selfless. Empathetic. Passionate

School children borrow all-terrain wheelchairs and walkers to participate in their first cross country. Families borrow specialist wheelchairs for their first trip to the beach together.

These are just two of the ways GiveAbility co-founder Jane Standen is helping local disabled children.

Her work is inspired by her first-hand knowledge of illness and disability as her eldest son was diagnosed with leukemia before his third birthday, and her seventeen-year-old daughter is profoundly disabled.

“These lived experiences and the challenges we have faced as a family have been the genesis for the GiveAbility program,” says Jane, who co-founded it with her husband, Scott Standen, and paediatric physiotherapist Melissa Locke.

Jane is extremely grateful for being voted a Westfield Local Hero.

“I want to thank friends, families and the community for their support. We know that we are making a positive difference in the lives of families with children with special needs.”

The foundation lends out its mobility equipment free-of-charge, which is especially useful for families waiting for their own equipment through National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding.

GiveAbility also facilitates improved well-being and social interaction by providing a safe place for families to learn new skills or just relax and meet new friends in its multi-sensory room at Parkwood Village.

In the past, the program has offered free music therapy sessions in its sensory room to help with cognitive development, gross and fine motor development and social development and interaction.

Each of these initiatives supports the health and wellbeing of children with special needs and provides opportunities for broader community participation and social inclusion for them and their families.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. GiveAbility will use its funds to relaunch its music therapy program, directly helping 400 children and their families.

“Our music therapy sessions in the sensory room are highly sought after and provide important social interaction,” says Jane.

“Hopefully we can create more awareness for families who need our help.”

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.