Supporting Cahoots 2021


Kerryn Lambert and Kaylee Nicholas spoke about the work of Cahoots, a registered NDIS provider, catering to people living with a disability, as well as others, who face exceptional challenges, to develop friendships, skills and confidence.

One in five people in Australia live with a disability. In the 1980s this issue prompted six families to work together to provide each other with respite, which developed into Kids' Camp, when other families joined. Their aims were collaboration, partnership and working together. The group has been known as Cahoots for the last five years. They still provide respite for children and parents, with 410 respites conducted so far. Families with disabled children are stressed, which can sometimes result in family breakdown.

Cahoots began with three staff and now has over fifty people working as carers, support workers and in other jobs.  

Community participation in events such as the Telethon cinemas, Cahoots in Concert, Golf Day, Charity skydive challenge, Conquer the Capes charity adventure enable Cahoots to raise funds. They also depend heavily on donations. 

Cahoots is an NDIS supplier and provides family sponsorship and programmes, which means families can receive respite before receiving NDIS services. The programs are intended to assist with life skills. Donations, one off or ongoing are always welcome; $500 is needed for one child to attend a camp. Trained volunteers assist.

Over 100 camps are held every year, including culturally specific camps. Camps are specialised/categorised:

  • all groups camps
  • cultural camps
  • with medium support
  • with high support

The camps are currently held in local venues such as Ern Halliday but Cahoots is working on developing their own camp site.

Many of the camp helpers are students planning to study in this area and are looking for experience in the field by working with Cahoots. They undergo a twelve module training programme followed by a face to face interview and assessment.  

In 2020, Cahoots developed their shopping service, Cahoots Connects, for those unable to shop and also began providing food hampers and education programmes. 

Most clients are NDIS referrals or government referrals. A percentage are wards of the state. Cahoots is a recipient of RC Karrinyup Community Service funding.

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