16 August, 2021
Mackay NDIS Participants Using New Matchmaking Platform Connect with Support Workers
A new platform is making it easier for NDIS Participants to find and connect with support workers in minutes, not months. One in five Queenslanders has a disability - with many unable to access the help they need thanks to the dire shortage of support workers through traditional methods.
NDIS figures show there are 91,687* people registered on the NDIS in the Sunshine State, but there are just 2,550 providers to service them.
Burleigh-based Kynd, which enables people to find support workers, is the brainchild of Founder Michael Metcalfe, who knows first hand the frustration of finding care. His mother needed short term support after suffering a medical emergency. He says the lack of flexible options was astounding.
“The experience opened my eyes to huge problems in the disability and care space. I learned the traditional way was complex with little choice,’’ he said.
“People needing support often can’t find it. The system is painful and impersonal.”
Michael has created a mobile app and website which allows NDIS Participants or their families to connect and directly book support workers, rather than waiting for large organisations to respond.
By taking out the middleman, it enables people with the right skill set - and also similar interests - to more easily connect, making for meaningful relationships and genuine help.
“I saw a need for helpful technology and a human approach, so I figured, let’s build a new type of experience,” he said.
Through traditional methods, being assigned a support worker can take months, partly due to the deficit in available support staff.
The federal government has already flagged the need for an extra 90,000 workers to enter the sector to meet growing demand.
The shortage can also mean those who receive NDIS self-managed funding don’t get the chance to use it all within the allocated time. In fact, NDIS figures show as few as 63% are able to use their allocated funding.
Sarah, a working mother to four children who have autism, says finding support traditionally is a minefield.
“Before Kynd, we really only accessed care on an emergency basis,” Sarah said. “We didn’t have anyone helping us out regularly.”
“Releasing your children into someone else’s care can be really daunting. If a support worker is not the right fit, it adds so much more stress”.
Kynd allows families to look at detailed profiles of independent support workers online, giving them the power to choose who is the best fit, based on their experience and personality.
“When you’ve got kids with autism, to be able to say you’re going to meet this person and show them a photo, just makes that transition so much easier.”
“Being able to access support, pick the times I need and communicate with them through one convenient app – It’s just so fast and easy,” Sarah said.
NDIS figures show there’s been an 11% increase in children participating in community and social activities, a 12% increase in NDIS Participants working in a paid job and 6% reduction in hospital visits in the last three years.
Kynd Founder Michael says that success is being attributed to people finding the right support.
“It could mean getting that first job, saving a relationship, spending equal time with all of your kids, or building independence,” he said.
Rebecca is an NDIS Participant and says finding the services you can trust is very hard.
“Until I met Kelly (her Support Worker), it was really difficult to get the right match and the right support,” Rebecca said.
“Once I went through the profiles and came across Kelly – It was a match made in heaven”.
It’s a great match for the Support Worker too.
‘’Rebecca and I have lots in common. We are both teachers' aides, and enjoy getting out,’’ Kelly said.
Kynd Founder Michael says the platform is about people and shifting from the older, traditional style to a flexible, choice based approach, where Participants choose people, not organisations.
“Where the power is shifted to NDIS Participants and Support Workers,” he said.
“Support Workers offer all types of services - social support, therapy assistance, personal care, and help with goals like finding a job, getting into the community and being independent.”
More than 3000 people have already signed up to use the service.
Kynd is a Queensland based business and is now being launched across the state.
For more information visit https://kynd.com.au
Kynd is a website and mobile app for NDIS Participants to find and book Disability Support Workers. It’s purpose built and solely for the NDIS. People can browse, compare and request Support Workers, post jobs, send messages and book support. Support Workers get verified, choose their services, set their rates, search and apply for jobs, and manage their bookings.