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One&All is here to help and heal

Sydney’s first all-inclusive community hub for disabled and abled individuals aims to “elevate all” says its founder/director Romy Wolman in this Q&A.

Why is it important to offer a consortium of choice for all abilities under one roof?A critical problem faced by differently abled people in the Sydney community is a lack of social spaces and opportunities for people to feel uplifted and form fulfilling connections with others. Our one-of-a-kind programs are built for everyone to shine and express themselves in their own way. So, gathering all abilities, backgrounds and a range of ages under one roof facilitates authentic community engagement and connections that teach not only our participants, but also our staff, volunteers and facilitators, to truly value, learn from and respect people from various walks of life. Through inclusive and community-led creativity, fitness, social enterprise, therapy and more, One&All facilitates important bonding experiences and conversations that help to break the stigma and create positive perceptions surrounding disability and mental health.

How is One&All fostering positive change in the perception of disability and mental health?
By building a multifaceted and diverse community of participants, volunteers, facilitators, support workers and staff of all abilities at One&All, we have been able to watch and learn from one another, communicate authentically with each other and expand our empathy and respect as a community.

We have a centre that raises the bar in disability services, in a beautiful well-equipped modern space with all the bells and whistles; a hub that integrates community with participants to ensure that we normalise disability; and workshops which involve each individual and allow them to be self-expressive, as opposed to providing a caring/babysitting service. Everyone who enters One&All leaves with a genuine appreciation for difference. These new positive perceptions in disability and mental health that we nurture at One&All are then shared with the broader community.

Who is one person One&All is helping to flourish?
Laura, who has Down Syndrome, is our wonderful participant turned in-house barista, running her own coffee stall inside the hub called LC’s Café. One&All has given her the opportunity to put her barista course certification, strong ambition and excellent work ethic into practice through social enterprise, by selling delicious coffees to anyone at the hub, thus creating a vocation for her and allowing her to generate her own income. Her independence and passion have flourished tremendously since opening her café and she has positively changed the perceptions of the One&All community.

Laura (centre) runs LC’s Café at One&All and since opening it her independence and passion have flourished tremendously. Photo: Ofer Levy

How do you help and heal through the creative process?
All our workshops and daily activities are embedded with therapeutic qualities, supported by our in-house art therapist and support workers who ensure the healing aspects of each workshop are satisfied. Our creative workshops allow participants to communicate non-verbally, to express and explore feelings in various creative ways, including painting, weaving and clay making, all while putting the mind at ease. Our music workshops heal by improving self-expression and confidence, reducing stress and lifting moods. Our movement workshops help our participants feel connected to one another through group achievement, on top of releasing endorphins, which is fundamental for improving mental health.

Why Rosebery?
We were fortunate to have been donated our amazing premises, which comprises a 400sqm space in Rosebery with an outside area and the most fantastic layout. We have modified the space to accommodate a meditation/therapy treatment room and a ceramics studio. Our outdoor area incorporates our vegetable garden and will further enable our retail store and market days. Rosebery is central and gave us the opportunity to launch our first centre, which we hope to expand to other locations.

What do you most hope for One&All in 2022?
We aim to grow our community, introduce new and innovative workshops every eight weeks and foster a space for social enterprise and authentic community engagement. As our hub becomes more well known, we will increase the days we run and offer services. We have also found that most of our participants are looking to form relationships, so we are introducing monthly mixed ability social events as well as fun dating programs.

We would like to partner with suitable organisations that can collaborate on helping and healing our society, and form partnerships with corporates aiming to get involved at a grassroots level in social responsibility and making a difference.

One&All is at 5-11 Mentmore Ave, Rosebery
To volunteer, donate or partner register here


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