Mainstream and Me

Mainstream and Me is a project focusing on people with an intellectual disability and physical disability working together with other people in the community. The aim of the project is to educate the community around Victoria of the challenges people with a disability face when accessing the community.

Mainstream and Me is funded through the first ILC National Readiness grant and has employed 26 Peer Educators with disability to work across New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Victoria. The Victorian part of the project is focusing on sport, recreation and tourism and is actively targeting mainstream providers to raise awareness and build their capacity to support people with disabilities. There are seven Community Educators currently working with VALID in Victoria.

Each Community Educator is a facilitator of a Peer Action Group (PAG) across Victoria. Each PAG has raised issues within their community and with the support of the Educators they are developing resources, creating networks and running educational programs to break down the barriers within the broader community.

The Mainstream and Me project is funded by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grants.

Here are our seven Community Educators

Ann Hutchinson

Pakenham and Moe

  • Campaign for new pedestrian crossing to shopping centre – a key leisure site in Pakenham
  • Airwaves Access in Moe, in partnership with Gippsland FM and the Moe Peer Action Group to produce a radio show. The program has potential to be used as a training model for community radio across Victoria
  • Working with local business community and the local library, but the exciting project is work with Gippsland FM, which includes training for members of the MOE Peer Action Group so they can produce a radio show.

Heather Forsyth


  • Documentation of discussions about friendship with Frankston Peer Action Group – How do we negotiate friendships?
  • Presentation to mainstream community organisations
  • Deliver evaluations at local forum on friendship with community partners and businesses

Mark Thompson


  • Development of Access Award in honour of 2 leading advocates
  • Creation of access audit fort people with disability to audit local mainstream services and businesses with Ballarat peer Action Group members
  • Launch of the Access Award with key stakeholders on International Day, including screening of Defiant Lives by Sarah Barton

Jenny Macpherson


  • Inclusive and Accessible Tourism – inspired by the Geelong Waterfront bollards and invisibility of people with disability
  • Engaging Geelong City Council, Geelong Tourism, local LAC and Geelong Peer Action Group
  • Planning of a public art project in Geelong City by an artist with a disability

Samson Hailu


  • Developing a range of inclusive programs and opportunities in local libraries and neighbourhood houses for people with disability from the local CALD community
  • Co-design of community development training package delivered by members of the Brimbank Peer Action Group

Michelle Wilcox


  • Capturing issues presented at Clayton Peer Action Group through art making and presentation. Deliver creative workshops, develop a body of works to exhibits at Monash Library
  • Host an Arts Advocacy Forum at Monash Gallery of Art

Luke Nelson


  • Submission for the Pierre Gorman Award – to develop an inclusive libraries model
  • Story capture workshops in partnership with Writers Victoria – inclusive programming
  • Training staff and volunteers at Watsonia Library in partnership with Arts Access Victoria
  • Co-design Employment Training Package at Watsonia Neighbourhood House