True Stories: Melissa Pitfield – everyday is different!

Melissa-Pitfield_editedI work for National Disability Services in the NSW Companion Card team. Companion Cards are issued to people with a significant disability who are unable to access the community without the assistance of a carer.

My role is to assess whether people are eligible for the card and I also promote the program to disability organisations, service providers and the general community to increase awareness about the program and to assist people to understand and complete applications.

After high school I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy and I knew I was most interested in working with people in a community setting. At first I wasn’t quite clear on what this would involve and was unsure exactly what area I would end up working in.

Outside of work I was very involved in sport and always set out to be the best I could be which involved a lot of hard training, My major goal in my sporting life was to make the Australian Touch Football team and I did it! I think my drive and enthusiasm for reaching this goal flowed into my working life because I believed, and still do, that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve whatever they want, regardless of their ability. So working with people with various abilities, who all had their own goals, made sense to me.

I started working casually for a post-school options program and really enjoyed it. I then moved on to work in a day program which allowed me to work more with individuals in helping them to achieve their goals; whether it was to be able to participate in a local aqua aerobics class or to be able to catch a bus to their workplace.

I am passionate about working with the Companion Card program and I wish it had been around when I was working in the day program. It opens up so many opportunities for people with disability to experience activities and events in their community, that they may not have been able to without a Companion Card.

In my current role every day is different. I am out and about a lot, assessing at schools, nursing homes and day programs. We also visit various organisations in the sector to present information about the program and to attend disability expos throughout NSW to raise awareness of the program. We also keep cardholders up to date with the latest places they can use their card and we organise events, such as our annual dance party.

I enjoy what I do and I think fair ticketing for people with disability makes sense. It’s great to be a part of something that has a positive impact on people and helps them to achieve their own goals in life.

Melissa Pitfield

Project and Development Officer/Assessor

Companion Card



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