We are facing a residential and care crisis for Australians living with disability. There is a nationwide shortage in appropriate housing for people with high care needs, leaving over 28,000 people who are living with disability without a suitable place to call home.
To raise public awareness and funds for this often overlooked issue, thirteen ordinary citizens take up the Simpson Desert Challenge every year – a gruelling 9 day trek through a vast and arid landscape in the heart of Australia. SPEL is supporting one of our colleagues in the construction industry, Natalie Scott, to join the upcoming expedition in May.
Creating Positive Change in the Lives of Others
As a Youngcare supporter, it was important for Natalie to participate in the Simpson Desert Challenge. When asked why she’s putting herself through 9 days of trekking in the unforgiving desert, she says, “It will be a mental and physical challenge for myself, however nothing in comparison to what some young Australians face every single day. So that’s why I am participating in the trek – because I can. I have the ability to complete such a challenge while raising money for an amazing charity.”
The Simpson Desert Challenge is organised by Youngcare, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating choice and independence for young Australians (aged 16-65) who have high care needs. The organisation works to provide people living with disability fully accessible and age-appropriate living spaces, grants for equipment and home modifications, and support through their national phone line.
With the services they provide, Youngcare is spearheading powerful change for young Australians with high care needs, and creating a future where every young person has the freedom and choice to live the lives we all deserve. In turn, every participant in the Youngcare Simpson Desert Challenge is on a journey to create positive impact in the lives of people living with disability.
An Estimator Not to be Underestimated
Working as an Estimator in the construction industry, Natalie has reached out to colleagues and peers for support in her upcoming challenge. Our team was more than happy to take up the call. Captivated and curious of the idea of spending 9 days hiking in the Simpson Desert, we asked Natalie how she’s conditioning herself for the trek.
Right now, Natalie is in the middle of a 15-week prep program organised by Youngcare. This involves training for the challenge 3 times a week, which includes a gym session, a mid-week hike up and down Brisbane’s steep Bowen Hills, and a morning trek through Mt. Cootha. “We aren’t just going for a leisurely stroll—it’s intense hill training to get our legs as prepped as can be! We slowly increase the weight in our packs for conditioning and have also thrown in a training session at Stradbroke Island to get a feel for sand dune trekking.” Outside of the prep program, Natalie also does her own gym training another 3 days of the week.
Apart from rooting for Natalie and the sheer work she’s put into this challenge, our team is happy to support a cause that strikes a chord in our hearts. Youngcare’s mission resonates with SPEL’s values for an equitable future for all. We envision communities where everyone’s needs for clean water, accessibility, and freedom of lifestyle choice are provided for.