Participants empowered to reach their potential


Participants empowered to reach their potential

Words by Stacey Carrick | Photos by Catherine Coombs

ARC Disability Services’ aim is to assist people to reach their individual goals and increase their independence.

ARC is a community-based organisation with a well established history in Cairns and Far North Queensland. CEO Ben Keast said their team members support both children and adults with disabilities to reach their goals with assistance from their families and support networks.

“We believe when participants at ARC receive help and support they can develop the skills necessary to lead an independent and fulfilling life,” he said.

“We aim to support all of our participants in how to leverage their strengths in areas they want to gain more independence and how to advocate for the tools that they need in order to succeed.”

ARC’s vision is that people who have a disability are empowered to reach their full potential, dreams and aspirations, enabling them to enjoy a fulfilling life of their choosing as valued members of the community.

Established in 1976, ARC team members pride themselves on being people focused, friendly, flexible and fun. “As a leading service provider, our mission is to influence change,” Mr Keast said.

“We work collaboratively with our service users, their support networks and the community to facilitate a range of options and opportunities which promote active participation for all.”

ARC offers individualised support to people with a disability through a range of programs and services.
They work with community partners throughout Far North Queensland to create relevant service opportunities and utilise available funding plans such as NDIS to reach their goals and gain independence.

ARC is a provider of a number of services and programs within the NDIS. These services include plan management, support coordination, supported independent living and short-term accommodation.

They also have an Inclusive Education resource centre. Mr Keast has been ARC’s CEO for six years. Prior to his appointment, he held a number of roles at all levels within the organisation over his 20 years in the industry.

“Our aim is to assist people to live a life of their choosing,” he said.

“We empower people to add value and enrich their lives. We ensure we find the right fit for the participants so we can walk alongside them and support them in what they want. Our services also help to increase their socialisation skills and confidence.”

Mr Keast said close to 500 people are assisted on a regular basis through in-home support and community access support.

He said a new facility is being built in Edmonton to support the southern corridor, which will be named ARC 51. The facility will include kitchen and hall hire, quiet rooms and training rooms.

The State Government has committed $1 million to the project and it is due to be completed by the end of the year.


In other exciting news, they have even had a film made by the participants screened in New York and Los Angeles film festivals, entitled ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Marriage’. This follows the witty film ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating’ (check it out online).

Mr Keast said the disability sector is a growing industry and assistance is needed to fill the skills gap with the right people.

ARC operates a community cafe at 52 Macnamara St, Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm.

For further information about ARC’s services or if you are looking for a new career path, phone 4046 3600 or visit