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Janel Manns, Port Macquarie

Its taken 12 long years but the last piece of my jigsaw is finally back. To finally have a place I can call “my home”, it has given me back a sense of safety, stability and security that I lost all those years ago


She only took up the sport six years ago, and now Port Macquarie’s Janel Manns, one of CHL’s very dear residents is London bound to represent Australia in wheelchair tennis in the 2012 Paralympics and will play singles and doubles for Australia.

Manns has had a tough life. After she was diagnosed with congenital dislocation of both hips at the tender age of 4 and with a fatal car accident at age 17 which destroyed her left hip, her life has never been the same. In later years she started playing wheelchair basketball which gave her a sense of purpose in life. Due to relocation to the mid north coast she had to move away from basketball and started playing tennis.

Thereafter she has only surged forward never to look back. And the rest is history.

Given a lot of time on court with a dedicated local coach/mentor and a lot of motivation, she was invited to try out for Australian Women’s Wheelchair High Performance Squad. She was selected and has been representing Australia for about 5 years now at an international level. Her highest achievement to date is Australia #2 female wheelchair tennis player and a world ranking of #17.

Janel has been a CHL tenant in Port Macquarie for the over 12 months now and she says, “I have been living in my flat for just over 12 months now and want you all to know that this has been the happiest and most rewarding 12 months in life that I have ever known; attributable to the fact that I have the security and stability of having my own home”.

“Housing for wheelchair users is a nightmare to find. I have spent the past 12 years living in short term semi accessible rentals until just recently when wheelchair accessible accommodation became available through CHL. Its taken 12 long years but the last piece of my jigsaw is finally back. To finally have a place I can call “my home”, it has given me back a sense of safety, stability and security that I lost all those years ago”, she adds.

“In the past 12 months I have increased my employment security and opportunities by adding to my credentials; completing a Graduate Certificate through Flinders University, with plans to commence a Masters in 2013. Over the past 12 months I have also been able to focus on my dream to compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in Wheelchair Tennis, a dream which has also come to fruition.

“I appreciate my home so much more than words can express. Perhaps the best way to express how much my home means to me is – when I have a shower I look at the shower head which has ‘posh’ written on it and often think, yes, I feel quite spoilt in my posh little flat; living the dream; life is good.

So I thank you all so very much from the bottom of my heart, please always remember just how very important a role your Community Housing Team plays in transforming people’s lives, you are all worthy of so much appreciation!”

As a good will gesture CHL has waived Janel’s rent for a period of 6 weeks while she is away in overseas training and competing at the 2012 London Paralympics Games.

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