Ralph Menchise – Director
This month we caught up with Ralph Menchise, Director of Access Your Supports to share a little about the amazing things their team is doing in the Geelong community.
Established in 2016, Access Your Supports aim to provide support services to eligible participants of the NDIS. Access Your Supports has also formed a partnership with The Treehouse Geelong, which is a support group for families living with Autism. Ralph gave a special mention to their Director, Lisa Hamling and the incredible support she has brought to the team.
How did the idea of Access Your Supports come to life?
Ralph always had a desire to run his own business. After spending more than 20 years working in organisations across areas such as aged care, mental health and disability. He had a pretty good idea of exactly what he wanted to do.
Ralph revealed, “The real push to make it happen came when the NDIS was finishing its trial and moving to a full scheme roll out across Australia.”
Equipped with a good client list and an aspiration to make a difference. Ralph reached out to three friends to join his team and after completing some formalities, Access Your Supports was in business (from home).
“I set an annual quota of clients I wanted us to assist and we reached that target in two weeks.” Highlighting a gap Ralph had already felt existed. Two years later, Ralph now has a 67 strong team of support coordinators, therapists and peer mentors. Working from their office located on Yarra Street.
Like Canny Group, Ralph values that family feeling in the workplace, “We have grown purely from internal referrals and I think everyone on my team is pretty great.”
What does Access Your Supports aim to achieve?
With a team of occupational therapists, psychologists, speech therapists and support coordinators to name a few. The aim of Access Your Supports is to match the individual with the right program. This is done through the use of therapeutic and creative programs. These programs are designed to build on skills, such as fine motor, individual confidence and in their own time. It’s person centred practice.
One such as their Creative Minds Program. Here they are able to attach therapy to the individual as they complete a ‘passion project’ exploring things they enjoy, such as drawing.
Whether it’s the Creative Minds, School Readiness or any of the other program they have to offer, the Access Your Supports team work together to build on weaknesses to create achievements.
To date their work has seen them assist more than 700 families in the Geelong community.
How do you feel Access Your Supports have been received by the Geelong community?
Ralph says the feedback they have received so far has been incredible, “It gives me a lot of satisfaction to know our purpose is being achieved and making a difference in the lives of the clients we work with.”
He attributes their success to his team and their genuine dedication to finding the best services for clients and their families. Something he finds himself saying to many of the families is that, it really is very person centred practice and always in their best interest.
What are some of the highlights of your journey so far?
It’s easy to imagine that this line of work would get quite emotional at times. So we wanted to know if there were any moments that really stood out. Ralph said that he had lots of stories and they included both children and adults that they had helped.
In general though, helping adults get back into the workforce and off welfare. Or seeing kids come to them with limited social skills and walking away with confidence in their lives is really satisfying.
A story Ralph did share was of Harry*. A 12 year old boy who was a major Doctor Who fan and loved board games. Harry would not leave his room and was afraid to attend school. Michael (pictured above left) was his peer mentor and together they worked on completing his passion project. He built a detailed model of Corio Village. Over the period of a few months and a boost to his sense of accomplishment, they built on his social integration in varied environments. Harry is now back at school, in a smaller group setting.
Michael and Ralph were both so proud of how far Harry had come along in a short amount of time. As well as the impact this has had on Harry and his family.
What is your vision for the future?
The future looks bright for Access Your Supports. Ralph is currently working on expanding to East Melbourne with an ambition to go state wide.
With a thriving business in his hands, Ralph is conscious of keeping it that way and managing the growth of the business. “Maintaining the personal approach is really important to me. I don’t want it to get so big that I lose that.”
Then without any prompting, Ralph let slip that he was so thankful for the support he receives from the team here at Canny Group. “It’s such a relief as a business owner to not have to worry about the financial side of things and to know that everything is done to a high standard.”
If you would like to get in touch with Ralph and the team at Access Your Supports, you can find them here.
(Michael Menchise and Ralph Menchise pictured above)