"We've got each other's backs."
The connection between support coordinator Leanne Montgomery and her client Manny Mathis is evident.
The two met when Manny's previous NDIS service coordinator of 20 years closed 12 months ago and he found himself looking for a new coordinator to link his disability support services.
That's when Leanne, a support coordinator with The Benevolent Society, came onboard.
"When someone has an NDIS package, we're one of the services they can choose to help link their services such as medical, carers and clinicians," Leanne said.
"We want Manny to choose what he wants to do with his own life and we work on making that easier and more comfortable for him.
"Manny has needed this type of support his whole life and he needed that to continue when his old service closed."
"It's been really great. They have become my friends," Manny added.
Today, December 3, is International Day of People with a Disability.
This connection and friendship is important to create with all clients, Leanne said.
"It plays a massive role in finding the right services for people like Manny. If he doesn't feel that connection with me, he won't tell me what he needs or what needs to be changed," she said.
"We like to say that we've got each other's backs."
54-year-old Manny is originally from the Gold Coast. He also lived in Sydney before moving to Port Macquarie 21 years ago.
For people who are in the same situation Manny we try and fill everything in his life so he's getting the most out of it.- Leanne Montgomery
He lives independently with help from a number of support services.
"By using The Benevolent Society and our support coordinators, Manny is then able to have the choice and control who he uses for different services that he needs," Leanne said.
"We're sort of the middle man that takes out some of the confusion for our clients.
"All of his support services are local except for his Neurologist who is in Forster."
Manny's love for classic cars has often been a feature in his, and his carer's lives.
"I don't drive, but I love classic cars. I used to have a Jaguar that my carers would drive for me," he said.
One of Manny's many other hobbies is listening to Jazz music.
"My father was a musician and both my parents were in a Jazz band," he said.
Both of Manny's parents have since passed away and he no longer speaks with his sister.
"The connection to the community has been really important for Manny," Leanne said.
Manny has been involved in Park Run for 15 years, he currently goes to the gym and trains with a personal trainer and he plans to start taekwondo lessons next year.
"We also try to organise day trips for our clients where they can socialise in a group as well as doing individual activities," Leanne said.
"For people who are in the same situation Manny we try and fill everything in his life so he's getting the most out of it."
"It's been really great, they help me with what I need," Manny added.
Manny is also looking forward to starting pottery lessons next year and going on small day trips.
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