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Nathan digs his new role

Nathan Balkwill has always loved the outdoors and feels right at home as a Grounds and Maintenance team member with ACH Group.

The 27-year-old lives with cerebral palsy, a condition that affects his movement and muscle coordination.

But he hasn’t let that stop him taking on a range of tasks, from clipping hedges and mowing lawns to painting and general maintenance duties.

“It’s really good here, it’s challenging, and I’m trying a bit of everything,” he said. “I enjoy getting out and about and I feel really welcomed and included here.”

Nathan was employed by ACH Group through its partnership with Barkuma Employment that began in 2013.

Qualified with a Cert 3 in Horticulture, he works across two residential sites: ViTA at Daw Park and Kapara at Glenelg.

Nathan has weekly physiotherapy and personal training sessions to help manage the condition and strategies to help him move safely. A Barkuma care worker visits Nathan once a week to check on his progress.

Grounds and Maintenance Supervisor Cameron Scott says he has been impressed by Nathan’s work.

“He is willing to give anything a go; he’s a great worker,” he says. “He’s learning a lot and he’s not afraid to take on a new task.”

Kapara Site Manager Freda Kontoleon sees the employment of staff with a disability a good fit with the vision and values of ACH Group.

“We believe that intergenerational interactions are part of a good life for our residents, who have really welcomed the new workers,” she says. “As a not for profit, we have a wider interest in social justice and believe that all people deserve the opportunity to live a good life.”