Community Living


Cootharinga is committed to providing people with disability the best possible support to achieve their goals, aspirations and to live life as independently as possible. We provide services that are individualised, meaningful, diverse and innovative with a range of options available.

Our community living options include: 
• Shared living
• Drop In support
• Family support
• Co-located/semi-independent (e.g. granny flat) support
• Community Access

At the very heart of our philosophy is a strong focus on person centred planning, practice and self-directed support options.  We assist individuals to develop their very own person centred plan outlining their needs, goals, aspirations and ambitions with a detailed action plan to enable coordination and collaboration of supports and activities.

A person centred plan is developed at commencement of the service and then reviewed and updated on a regular basis. This individualised approach means that flexible, responsive and innovative support options are available to all individuals.

We believe that individuals have a right to direct their own life and to choose support services that are important to and for them.  We will encourage and support individuals to make choices and decisions in the least restrictive manner.

Our services are age and culturally appropriate, and encourage the building of support networks and links to community.  We assist individuals to improve their quality of life by developing skills and abilities to enhance their independence and social connections in the community.



Our community living service provides a range of flexible support options to people living with a disability in Townville, Cairns, Mareeba and Mackay.  Support provided may be 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Our shared living and community homes are unique and individual to each person.  Group decision making is also encouraged and individuals are invited to participate as a group to make choices and decisions about the running of their household.  Regular meetings are offered to ensure individuals are given the opportunity to be part of this process.  Privacy and independence is respected at all times.


We focus on providing flexible support for individuals to maintain positive living arrangements and build social relationships in their community.  Supports include personal care; managing medication; domestic assistance to maintain a home; assistance to connect with community and family/friends; assistance in meal preparation; to take up employment/volunteer roles; lifestyle planning support.



Drop in Support aim to maximise and maintains a person's independence by providing support for personal and domestic needs and to meet their chosen goals.  This type of support enables people to remain living independently in the community with minimal supports.  We have assistedmany people for years to ensure they maintain deily living skills to manage their own home and access the community.  This support is generally delivered to people living in their own home and levels of support vary from 2 hours a day to drop in support 7 days a week.


Cootharinga's Mobile Drop in Support program provides individualised planned drop - in services to people with disability.  The initiative aims to deliver flexible support for individuals with a disability who are living independently or with a carer/family member to enable them to live in their own home. 

This program takes a preventative and early intervention approach designed to avoid people having to leave their home to receive accommodation support, through providing a cost effective and individually tailored model of support.

Delivery of the service is provided to adults (18 - 65 year olds) with a disability who have needs that can be met through a drop-in support model.



Family Support provides flexible respite to families that have a member with a disability.  Our services provide flexible service options for families and people with a disability to enable sustainable living options for people with disability in their family home.  Our support workers assist individuals to access the community providing respite for the family and also an opportunity for the individual to build social networks within their community and access a range of programs.



We support a range of housing/support options that enable people to live independently with close proximity to support services or in co-located properties to share and enhance support deliveries.



The primary objective of our Community Access options is to encourage people to identify and develop their gifts, talents and abilities by providing supports necessary for each person to become confident and contributing members of their community.

Community Access options are delivered in Townsville, Mackay and Cairns. The routines and activities of Community Access are driven by the wishes and needs of the individual.

Community Access makes a major contribution to the implementation of the people we supports Individual Lifestyle Plans. The service provides staff who work according to the needs and wishes of the people we supports personal goals. Staff assist the people we support to seek opportunities to participate and contribute to their communities in a way that is meaningful and satisfying.

Some examples of activities which the people we support choose to participate include:

• Development of personal interests e.g. cooking, art, music, dance
• Literacy tutoring
• Social events
• Cultural events
• TAFE Classes
• Membership in Clubs and associations
• Sporting Associations

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Liaison Officer

Cootharinga Society developed an innovative and unique role being that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Liaison Officer (ATSLO). The position commenced in 1995.

The objective of the ATSLO’s role is to communicate and address the broader community issues of people we support from an indigenous background and ascertain their needs and aspirations for the future. To do this effectively, contact needed to be established and relationships developed and maintained with individuals and their families.

The ATSLO holds informal cross cultural training sessions with staff so that their understanding of cultural issues is well developed and they have the foresight to see that traditional western methods of dealing with problems may not always work with culturally diverse people we support.