Case Story Uniting Ability Links

A program ends with a gift to community.

This book was produced in the final year of the Uniting Ability Links program. Ability Links was a much loved, strengths-based program working with people with disability to bring true inclusion in the community.

Over the past 5 years, they re-imagined, with the community, how a program like this can work. As the program drew to a close, there was a strong desire for the person-led approach, and all that was seen and learnt, to be shared back to community. The idea for With Open Hearts was born.

This organisation has long been committed to a story culture and implemented our story_Pool program 3 years earlier. Now Uniting Ability Links was keen to use their accumulated bank of stories and experiences to evidence the value of their way of working. And celebrate the community.

They saw this book as a legacy; a gift to the visionary individuals still working at grassroots level to create inclusion. The stories prove the impact of the program, the expertise of the Linkers (the people that worked out in community) and Uniting Ability Link’s unique work in this area.

It is now also used  in Learning and Development for practice improvement across other areas of the organisation including onboarding, partnerships etc. Books like this one not only honour the team and the people they work with but has lasting impact in building the reputation of the larger organisation.

How we did it

We spoke with Linkers across the organisation to gather their stories and wisdom which we then shaped within a 5 step learning theme. Our illustrator Tennyson helped bring the stores and learnings alive alongside our designer Clive Jones who is a master of designing with narrative. With Open Hearts complements the first book, With Open Arms.

We loved working with you, Uniting Ability Links! You are missed.

With Open Hearts is the second book Moya has produced with us. This time we met more members of her Only Human team and together we created a book beyond our expectations. We have all been so proud to be able to leave a gift to our community that not only celebrates our program but also acknowledges what we have learnt working with community. With Open Hearts is intended to enable communities to continue the good work our program has begun.

Ric Bless, Uniting Ability Links Program Manager