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By Victoria Stone-Meadows

Casey-based charity group Beyond Disability has put its 2016 Casey Cardinia Foundation Spring Grants money to good use assisting elderly and housebound people to stay connected.
The group was awarded a $2500 grant from the foundation in December last year and has used the money to increase their client basis.
The money supplied by the Casey Cardinia Foundation has mostly been spent on operational costs such as the purchase of laptops, broadband subsidies, and volunteer travel reimbursements.
Beyond Disability Secretary Peggy Stocks said the grant money had helped keep their services alive.
“It is very much appreciated and we wouldn’t survive without it,” she said.
“These grants are how we survive as we get hardly any Federal Government funding so we rely on funding and what we get is very much appreciated.”
Beyond Disability has been supplying laptops, desktop computers, and specialised equipment to elderly, disabled, and housebound people as well as their carers in the south-east for 19 years.
What sets Beyond Disability apart from other similar charities is they provide ongoing support from volunteers to make sure their equipment works and users are comfortable operating it.
“Our techs go out and set up the computers then volunteers show the client how to work it, mostly email and skype,” team leader Trisha McGill said.
“If there are any problems our techs or volunteers will go out and we will replace the computer.”
“Also, if their disability gets worse we can offer different forms of computer equipment such as a bigger keyboard with large keys if their sight is failing.”
Beyond Disability have more recently launched their Victorian Vets Wellness Project, aimed at getting war veterans online to stay connected with friends and family.
“We started helping out veterans about three years ago and want to encourage more vets come on board the program,” Ms Stocks said.
“We find a lot of veterans have PTSD and it helps them to be able to communicate with their mates who may be experiencing the same thing.”
“They are the ones who benefit from our program and it really helps to keep in touch with mates.”
Beyond Disability provide all their services to their clients for just $11 a month, or $23 a month with a wireless modem.
The team is hoping they can attract more clients this year and expand their help to more people in the community who need it.
To find out more about Beyond Disability or to become a client or volunteer, visit www.bdi.org.au.

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