Aspire Oaks Day luncheon held at Albury Racing Club

SHARING THE MOMENT: Maureen Mathews and Gail Mathews are snapped together as guests mingle during Thursday's Oaks Day luncheon. Pictures: MARK JESSER

SHARING THE MOMENT: Maureen Mathews and Gail Mathews are snapped together as guests mingle during Thursday's Oaks Day luncheon. Pictures: MARK JESSER

AMID the frocks, hats, food and laughter came several reminders of the cause behind Thursday’s Aspire Oaks Day luncheon at Albury Racing Club.

None more appreciated than the Grease medley by performers from Aspire Support Services, who received a warm ovation from the crowd of about 120 guests.

The ninth annual luncheon is the main fundraiser for Aspire’s community grants scheme, which supports people with disabilities in areas such as education, sport, IT and mobility.

Organiser and Aspire board director Lizzie Pogson said the day generally raised up to $15,000, with some people attending each year.

PRIZE WINNERS: Among stiff competition, Tammy Nelson and Margaret Singleton earned praise from the luncheon judges for their hat and outfit respectively.

PRIZE WINNERS: Among stiff competition, Tammy Nelson and Margaret Singleton earned praise from the luncheon judges for their hat and outfit respectively.

“They’re here and they’re very committed to what the day’s about,” she said.

Guest speaker Jodie O’Sullivan, a Border Mail journalist, told of Aspire’s assistance after her baby daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition, Williams Syndrome.

“I needed help, I needed respite and I needed a support team to guide me – and that’s what I got,” she said.

“Suddenly I didn’t feel alone and that gave me hope. It’s amazing what you can do with hope.

“What I have learned in this journey – in my story – is there is no price you can put on just knowing someone else cares.”

Aspire general manager, operations, Trevor Cowell said the service was trying to help people navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

“The speed of the roll-out has often been referred to as trying to build a plane in mid-flight,” he said.

“But regardless of the challenges we must never lose sight of the key goal – to provide people with disability the reasonable and necessary supports they need to live the life they choose.” 

Mr Cowell said Aspire now referred to the people it provided services to as customers rather than clients.

“That is because they have control of their funding,” he said.

“Using the term customer makes a very clear statement for our staff to understand that the person with disability is in charge of what they want to purchase and we must make sure the type and quality of service we deliver meets that expectation.”