About Project Independence
Established in 2013, Project Independence (PI) is a social housing development that provides independent living and a new model of home ownership for people living with intellectual disabilities. PI’s housing provides a safe place for residents to grow their independence – both financially and socially – whilst living with a community of their peers and an on-site resident coordinator.
Providing a person-centred model of housing, Project Independence is a unique and innovative offering, giving residents freedom of choice and empowering them as they transition to independence.
By offering a truly unique service to people living with intellectual disabilities, PI was quickly inundated with applications, and had more people on their waiting list than were living in their accommodation.
Identifying skill gaps in some residents already living in PI’s housing, and recognising that adults don’t only require housing to live independently but also skills and coping mechanisms, PI set to work on formulating an idea for a new training program that they called ‘Pathways to Independence’.
The program aims to assist people with intellectual disability who already live independently – or plan to move into independent living – to build confidence, capabilities, and social skills.
The training program is a way to engage NDIS participants on the accommodation waiting list, as well as an opportunity to help build the skills of people with disability who are already living independently in the local community.
With staff already working at capacity, PI sought external expertise to help bring their concept for a new training program to life.
By providing a multidisciplinary approach to the development of the new ‘Pathways to Independence’ program, CBB’s Business Consultants were able to work with the team at PI to confirm that there was a need within the market, review the proposed structure of the program, design the service to be viable (within the current NDIS Price Guide), and then validate its sustainability with a financial cost model.
CBB’s consultants also provided practical tools that PI will be able to use for the future, like a budgeting tool that will help them adapt and succeed within the dynamic NDIS environment.
PI staff participated in CBB’s NDIS Success program and successfully applied for one of 16 grants which offered one to one support with CBB’s Business Consultants. We then assisted PI to prepare to pilot the new NDIS service ‘Pathways to Independence’.
’Pathways to Independence’ is designed to run as an NDIS Program of Support for approximately 8 weeks, delivered through a combination of 1 on 1 mentoring as well as group sessions of up to 6 people. Learning outcomes include skills and capabilities, such as how to take actions to meet ones needs, how to seek support and self-advocate, and how to live in harmony with others. Mentors assist participants to identify their strengths – and utilise them – when living independently.
With broad experience within the NDIS environment, CBB offered a multidisciplinary consulting approach to PI, with three Business Consultants working with them to provide the best possible skillsets for different aspects of the consulting support.
The project began with research into similar supports and services that were already available in other geographic markets. Then, workshops were run with PI staff to develop a detailed understanding of the NDIS business context and the needs of the training program’s target audience.
Service design was the next piece of the puzzle, looking at the overall structure, the desired outcomes and the format in which the training would be delivered. A review of the NDIS pricing rules together with the cost modelling of different scenarios and staff ratios helped to refine the service design and cost structure of the NDIS supports, forming a sustainable model.
With this work complete, PI ran a pilot of ’Pathways to Independence’ with a selected group before preparing to launch it more broadly into the market.
After being given the confidence to advance the project based on the pilot program and CBB’s support, PI is preparing to rollout their new NDIS Program of Support.
Since the conclusion of CBB’s consulting support, learning outcomes from the pilot regarding content, structure, and participant numbers are being embedded into the future program.
“CBB were amazing. Their knowledge of the NDIS space and expertise in business development was invaluable to us. The cost modelling tool they developed has really helped us to be agile with the evolving NDIS price list. CBB took the time to understand our organisation’s unique offering and tailor the solution to that. Previous contractors have given us a one size fits all approach. On top of all that, they are the nicest people to work with and very encouraging of our ideas.”
Susan Beaumont, Operations Manager at Project Independence.