Family support worker proud of success of personal support network workshop


Advice helps keep people safe and secure in their community
Thursday January 19, 2012 — Deb Bartlett

Looking back at what went well at Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) family support last year, Carol Stinson is really pleased with the quality of workshops that were presented for families.

The tips shared in November’s workshop on developing personal support networks were well-received by families, says Carol.

The gist of that workshop was that rather than relying on formal support, families need to look to the community for informal supports for their loved ones who have a disability

“There’s an awful lot of people out there who are very willing to be patient and supporting and you can’t be afraid of using those resources,” says Carol.

She says the community is generous and welcoming and families have to find their place in it.

She adds that it’s important to reward those people and businesses in the community with return business.

For example, she says if there is a teller at a bank who is very patient, that’s the bank you should keep accounts with.

Families need to help develop the community they want their family members to live in by acknowledging people who are generous with their time and welcoming with their attitudes.

Carol says another interesting part of that workshop was the advice for families to rely less on formal support and paid workers because that help will only be available a few hours a week.

Families were advised to look for supports that are free and available.

By finding, for example, a bus driver on a regular route that you get to know, that connection helps keep someone safe and secure in the community, says Carol.

“That’s the piece that parents and siblings have to get their minds around,” she says.

“We need to start looking for the informal support. Because the formal supports, even when we do get them, sometimes aren’t appropriate or they don’t work the way they’re supposed to.”

But by looking to welcoming people in the community, a networks can be built that will always be there, says Carol.

BACI family support will be presenting several more workshops this winter and spring. Watch for details in upcoming BACI Blast stories.

To comment on this story, or to share your family’s experience in building a personal support network, contact Deb at 800-294-0051, ext. 30, or e-mail deb(at)



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