Dee's Place

Liz & I!

By Dee Holmes

Dee lives in Melbourne. She enjoys raising funds for various charities and has recently taken up cup- cake baking! Dee recently combined her two passions and held a high tea for her family and friends to raise funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital. She is an avid gym member, a member of a local choir and is is a passionate Hawthorn Football Club Member and Elvis Presley fan. Dee is a member of Living Distinctive Lives, a family governed collective that aim to support each person with a disability to live in their own home. Recently she engaged lifeAssist to help find a new housemate.

My name is Dee and in 2009 I moved into my own flat. It was hard at first but I got used to it. I like living in my own place. It’s been great for my independence.

I wanted a flat-mate because I don’t want to live on my own. Living with a flat-mate is good because I’m not as lonely as I’d normally be if I was by myself. They help me with things. They help me hang my washing up and put the right amount of washing detergent in the machine. They also help me with the cooking and changing my sheets. I like flat-mates who enjoy having a chat, have a friendly personality, are kind and have a sense of humour. My flat-mate helps to cheer me up.

When I was getting to know Liz we went to Phillip Island together. It was really good. We had a great time. I love her accent. She’s from the UK. I sometimes make Liz a cup of tea or coffee. We went to see Strictly Ballroom together. We had a ball! Right at the very end we actually got on stage with the performers! Sometimes we go shopping at opportunity shops together. We’re also planning a housewarming to get to know our neighbours.

I love watching AFL football, especially Hawthorn but because Liz is from the UK she doesn’t understand it. She had better lift her game!

I’m a good housemate because I’m friendly and kind. I like shopping together and it works out better when I help to keep the place tidy.

If you’re thinking about moving out of home and living with a flat-mate, I’d say give it a go cos it’s one of the best ways to meet people!

This article, Liz & I was written by Dee Holmes (2015). It appears in Thinking About...(Housemates), Issue 23, 10 and was published by Belonging Matters, Melbourne.

Dee Holmes

Can You Believe It Deezines

Dee lives in Melbourne. She enjoys raising funds for various charities and has recently taken up card making! Dee decided to start a micro-business as a way to earn money and connect with her two passions - meeting people and making cards. In this article, Dee explains how she founded her business; what she needed to think about and do when starting her business and what she has achieved. Deb has known Dee for nearly 15 years. She works for Belonging Matters and through this work has mentored many individuals with a disability so that they can live full, meaningful and inclusive lives.

Since leaving school, I have really wanted a job, just like my two brothers. I used to go to a day program, but I didn’t really like it there. I had a job for three years at a taco restaurant, where I cleaned the tables and did a few odd jobs. I loved the staff there however I didn’t really like that type of work. I did some work experience at Spotlight, Lombards and Target but none of these led to a job. It was hard finding work!

I have always loved craft and last year I started a card making class. I really enjoyed it. It was right up my ally! Another one of my passions is people. So we thought, why not start a card making business? I started by gathering a group of people together who could help me think about my business idea. This included family, friends, a bookkeeper who works with small businesses, a person who runs a business from home and my support workers.

We held the meetings at my place. We talked about product ideas, who I would sell my cards too, how it would work, marketing ideas, what made my cards different, people who might support or promote my business, costs and pricing, managing the money, presentation of my cards, where to purchase what I needed to make my cards, how I would make the stock, registering my business and insurance! Other things that were important to me when starting my business were making sure that my cards were high quality, people viewed me as a business woman and having face to face contact with my customers. I wanted to start small and see how it went. Every-one in my business circle was enthusiastic. I was absolutely wrapped!

Carolyn who runs a small business, and now helps me to run my business, helped me to design a logo and web site. We tried a few different designs and then asked people what they thought the business was selling. By doing this we came up with a great design! I had business cards and stickers made for the back of the cards and a couple of t-shirts for when I am selling the cards.

As Christmas was approaching, I set a goal to make 100 cards! This was a big goal but I achieved it with the help of my business circle. We all got together one night and over pizza, a glass of wine and soft drink we made close to 100 cards! The cards were designed by me and everyone got busy with stamps, glitter and paper! Some of my business circle even invited a few of their family members to help. It was a real production line! It was lots of fun and didn’t cost much!

Now I was ready to sell my cards! As I’m well known in my local community and have a gift for remembering names and dates, Katherine, my business employee, and I set off down the street! I sold my cards at lots of different shops and businesses. People were impressed with the quality of my cards. Because they’re hand- made, people loved them! I sold nearly all of my cards in one and a half days!

I’m now getting involved in and learning other parts of my business such as banking and making sure I have enough money to cover costs. I have made cards for Valentine’s Day and I’m starting to plan for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I would also like to make cards for new born babies. I love my business and hope other people can start a business too!

This article, Can You Believe It Deezines was written by Dee Holmes & Deb Rouget (2017). It appears in Thinking About...(Microbusinesses), Issue 30, 8 - 10 and was published by Belonging Matters, Melbourne.

Most young people year to leave home and set up their own place. However often when you have an intellectual disability the options are limited. In this film, Dee, her family and her housemates share their experiences to find Dee a place of her own in her local community. This film was part of the Australian Human Rights Commission's 20 Years, 20 Stories project, which celebrated 20 years of the Disability Discrimination Act Dee lives in her own home. 

© 2017 by 19 Stories of Social Inclusion

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