The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government program, Ability Links NSW, has successfully supported Ian Edwards, ‘The Blind Chef’, to achieve his goal of opening a restaurant in Lake Macquarie and employing other people with disability. In 2015, Ian Edwards lost his eyesight due to a detached retina and had to give up his career working in fine food restaurants across the Hunter region.

“There were weeks and weeks of feeling lost and confused. Every day I sat at home, and what do you do, I couldn’t do anything,” Mr Edwards said. “Eventually, I contacted Ability Links NSW who assisted me with making connections in the local community which led to me setting up my own restaurant.” Minister for Disability Services, Ray Williams congratulated Mr Edwards on his success and for not giving up on his goals.

“Mr Edwards is a true success story. His commitment to not only support himself but also help other people with disability gain employment is admirable,’ Mr Williams said. Ability Links aims to support people with disability, their families and carers connect with opportunities in the community, including employment, volunteering and education. “I’m proud the program has initiated more than 1,220,000 community connections and 150,000 occasions of service across NSW,” Mr Williams said.

There are more than 347 Linkers across NSW, including 79 Early Linkers focusing on supporting families and carers of children 0-8 and 74 Aboriginal Linkers. Ian Edwards will feature on SBS program The Employables tonight at 8.30pm.