Welcome to DRC’s new community network!

For many Victorians with disabilities the last two years have been really tough. The stress of dealing with the NDIS, the rationalisation of the mental health sector and the age-old battles of stereotyping, discrimination and stigma has been compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including fear of the virus and the complexities of vaccination. With many support services closed for months on end, more and more of us have felt lonely and socially isolated.

One thing is clear –  wrestling with systemic barriers, NDIS, Centrelink or trying to find any other form of support that you need is particularly hard when you do it alone. Feeling connected to a community of people that share your experiences can be really powerful.

And that’s where the Buddy Network comes in.

What are Buddies?

Buddies are people with disabilities living anywhere in Victoria. We come together online, both in groups and for one-to-one meetings, to share experiences and support one another through all our ups and downs. Buddies are not advocates or counsellors, they are more like companions who listen with kindness and solidarity. Because no one in the disability community needs to feel alone.

Would you like to feel better connected to the disability community? Would you like to do more to support others?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ and you are interested in joining the network, we would love to hear from you.

Becoming a Buddy

When first joining the program you will be invited to attend two online induction workshops. We will be talking about the role of peer support, how to foster connection and maintain boundaries, and we will explore our common ground together.

Buddies can then attend a group peer support session weekly or fortnightly, and you can be matched for one-to-one support meetings with others if you choose. Matched Buddy pairs meet online each week or fortnight for 60 – 90 minutes.

What’s in it for you?

The Buddy Network’s peer support group exists to support the wellbeing of the Buddies and to enable relationships within the network to flourish.  Through your involvement in the program you can also inform DRC’s campaigns and there will be opportunities for you to help DRC’s systemic advocacy work.

DRC will listen to you too and schedule further professional development workshops focused on issues that you identify through your work as a Buddy.

Buddies also benefit from the human connection brought about by meaningfully supporting one another. Research shows that people who are engaged in the support of others develop a strong sense of purpose and wellbeing.

Considering Joining the Network?

Please complete the form below.

Our next intake of volunteers will start up at the end of September 2022. We can schedule a call anytime before that to discuss the program in more detail and respond to any questions you may have.