As WA’s very first Companion Cardholder, Peter Darch has racked up an entire decade’s worth of memorable experiences which wouldn’t otherwise have been possible.Over the years, he has used his Card for a wide range of activities, from taking the train to work with his support worker to cheering on his beloved West Coast Eagles with his mates. But a recent trip to Melbourne, in which he toured the city’s top tourist haunts, may have been his best Companion Card experience yet.
Accompanied by his support worker Marcus Topp, Peter used his Card to take in the breathtaking views from the Eureka Skydeck (pictured), visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground and National Sports Museum, watch the Western Bulldogs triumph over Collingwood at Etihad Stadium and check out Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium.
Peter, who works for National Disability Services WA, was in Melbourne to attend a Disability Employment Australia conference at Crown Melbourne.
He was the very first West Australian to sign up for a Companion Card in 2006 when the program was launched. Peter has been a quadriplegic and wheelchair-user since the age of 16.
He says the Companion Card has undoubtedly enriched his life as it has allowed him to share a social life with his mates that would otherwise often be too expensive.
At home, he mostly uses his Card on public transport and to attend football games, movies, music festivals and concerts.
"My Companion Card has allowed me to go out with my circle of friends or with family or support workers," he says. "When you always have to buy two tickets the cost becomes very prohibitive and it has a big impact on your quality of life, as you’re not able to do the things you enjoy."