Support Groups


Support groups Find support and encouragement

If you have a disability or you’re supporting a loved one with a disability, you would be aware of the limited support and training available.

To address this need, we’ve established support groups and support programs to help alleviate the enormous strain, especially for people with a disability who have left hospital and return home to a very daunting and emotional time.

Upcoming workshops

We would like to invite you to our upcoming Wellness Workshop Trilogy held via Zoom on July 14th, July 28th and August 11th from 11am until 1.30pm.

This trilogy is an exploration of some of the many factors that affect our moods, thoughts and physical health.
The facilitators are Tracey Yeoman, student counsellor and Jenny Koadlow, Senior Psychologist at Independence Australia.

July 14 – Healthy Weight

‘Healthy Weight’ is our first workshop in the trilogy. In this workshop we will be exploring people’s views of what is a healthy weight, the challenges people face with nutrition, along with information and strategies you can use to get to, and maintain a healthier weight.

July 28 – Healthy Movement

‘Healthy Movement’ is the second in the trilogy. During this workshop we will explore different types of movement, and the motivational factors to help you achieve a healthier and more active lifestyle.

August 11 – Healthy Mind

‘Healthy Mind’, the final instalment is designed to help us understand how stress effects our bodies, emotions and thoughts. It includes mindfulness, relaxation and other strategies that can reduce the effects of stress .

To book please email [email protected] and [email protected]

We look forward to seeing you in Zoom

Support Groups for Carers

Independence Australia runs a series of free local workshops to support you when caring for a loved one with a physical disability. This four-part program is delivered over four half days.

Come along and learn how to lift safely, care for yourself, navigate the disability system and get the information you need from professionals. Most importantly, you will meet other people in your local area who are going through similar experiences.

Strengthening Families will assist you in developing the knowledge, skills, and confidence to respond to the needs of a loved one.

You will develop key skills in optimism, resilience, assertiveness and well-being that will help overcome the challenges associated with supporting someone with a disability.

In these free workshops your participation will provide:

  • strategies for coping with stressful situations
  • a place to share and reflect on personal experiences
  • knowledge and skills for safer techniques in manual handling
  • strategies to ensure you care better for yourself
  • an opportunity to develop a network of relationships with other family carers in an open, confidential and respectful environment

Workshop topics


  • Workshop 1: Caring for someone: practical support skills
  • Workshop 2: How best to work with professionals and support staff
  • Workshop 3: Caring for others; caring for yourself
  • Workshop 4: Assertiveness and independence

Dates and locations 

The Strengthening Families program is running in a variety of locations across Victoria.

All workshops run from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

Respite support

Respite support hours are available to confirmed attendees. Applicants are asked to include details of their request for respite hours on the application form.

Register now

To register your interest in attending future workshops, please call 03 9418 0474.

Support Groups for People with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

This is a support group for people who have acquired an incomplete spinal cord injury or condition as the result of accident or injury, medical, surgical, viral, neurological or vascular cause. The group is specifically aimed at people who can:

  • walk unassisted
  • walk with a cane, crutches, a frame, or other assistance
  • walk but who may also use a wheelchair

It’s an initiative by the Victorian Spinal Cord Services, Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre and Independence Australia as a direct result of the increasing number of people with incomplete injuries we were seeing come through our services. We wanted to address the severe lack of support services available for the unique circumstances and experiences faced by people with spinal injuries who can walk.

Our support group provides a friendly and informal setting for people with incomplete spinal cord injuries or conditions to share information, experiences, knowledge and support.

The common experiences amongst people with incomplete spinal cord injuries with some capacity to walk include:

  • significant concerns that may not be understood or visible to others e.g. changes in bowel or bladder functioning, pain, fatigue, motor or sensory changes, sexual changes, changes in hopes and expectations about the future
  • not going through specialist spinal cord injury rehabilitation
  • feelings of isolation from other people with incomplete spinal cord injuries like their own
  • being unsure of relevant services and supports in the community

If this support group can help you, we would love to see you join us. Meetings are coordinate to match demand, please contact us if you would like to attend and we will let you know when the next meeting will be held. All meetings are held in wheelchair friendly venues with ramps to the meeting rooms and plenty of accessible parking nearby. The meetings are free. We also provide light refreshments and catering at no charge.

To register your interest and find out when the next meeting will be held, please contact Dr. Andrew Sinclair on 03 9418 0474 or 0400 199 766, or email [email protected]

Support Groups for Families of People with Spinal Cord Injury

When a loved one sustains a spinal cord injury, life changes not only for that person but also for those around them. This is a support group specifically for family members and/ or friends.

The group is an initiative by Independence Australia, with the support of the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Hospital and AQA to support partners and family members of people with a physical disability. It’s an opportunity to have your questions answered in a confidential and supportive group. You can also share information, experiences, knowledge and support in a friendly and informal setting.

Our meetings are held on a monthly basis and focus on the areas of interest to the group. The common experiences we share among family members are:

  • worries about the future for family member
  • housing modifications/accommodation
  • funding issues
  • being unsure of relevant services and supports in the community
  • health issues including pressure sores, bladder and bowel care
  • what to do about self care
  • relationship and sexuality issues

It is free to attend and we also provide light refreshments at no charge. We meet monthly. RSVP’s are essential so you can get  updates of the date, time and location at The Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre in Kew. Sessions are facilitated by Jenny Koadlow and AQA’s Peer Support Coordinator, Nazim Erdem.

Just remember to RSVP for every session by calling Jenny Koadlow on 03 9418 0410 or 0403 046 816, or email [email protected].

Jenny is our clinical psychologist who has worked for many years with individuals, couples, families and groups in the disability sector.

Please Note: We will not be running any Support Groups until 2020. To register your interest in attendng future workshops, please call 03 9418 0474.