The New Zealand Down Syndrome Association (NZDSA) has commended the Government for their ongoing commitment to transforming the disability sector and investing in the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) approach.

NZSDA National Executive Officer Zandra Vaccarino hopes that that additional $72.8 million funding over four years for Enabling Good Lives announced in last week’s budget will enable the programme to be rolled out nationwide and that there will be continued and further investment in the EGL approach.

“We have seen how the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) pilot programmes in Christchurch, Waikato and the Mid-Central region have empowered people with Down syndrome and their family and whānau by having greater choice and control of what they want and need for their lives,” says Mrs Vaccarino.

“We believe that people with Down syndrome are valued and equal members of their community, and the EGL approach is crucial for empowering and facilitating people to achieve their goals and dreams.”

Mrs Vaccarino says that people with Down syndrome and other disabilities, as well as their families and whanau, play a vital role in the continuous co-design of the pilot EGL programmes.

“So we are delighted that there is additional funding over the next four years to continue the work to transform the disability support system.”

The National Executive Officer says that the lessons learnt in the pilot programmes will inform the detailed design work required for a national rollout of the new approach to support not only people with Down syndrome, but all disabled people and their whānau.

“It has been inspiring to see how EGL has enabled people to live a life that looks radically different from how New Zealand traditionally supported disabled people.

“So we look forward to the day when all people with Down syndrome, other disabled people and their whānau living in Aotearoa have access to the transformed disability support system.”