Disability champion honoured

Shanleigh Meldrum at the presentation night for the 2023 Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

A Macedon Ranges SES volunteer and disability advocate has been inducted into the 2023 Victorian Honour Roll of Women for her efforts. 

Shanleigh Meldrum is deaf and has undertaken a variety of roles in her career as a sensory disability professional and as a volunteer with the Gisborne and Woodend SES units. 

Participating in emergency management forums, the 29-year-old highlights the importance of disability access and inclusion during major emergency events. 

Shanleigh’s advocacy has contributed to long-term community benefits for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind youth in regional Victoria, and improved awareness of their needs in both mental and physical health and emergency management contexts. 

“My current role is senior youth officer at Deaf Hub Bendigo,” she said. 

“I am the creator and project manager for our Youth Program ‘Get Engaged with Your Life!’ (2022-2024) that supports regional/rural Victorian deaf, hard of haring and deafblind young people aged 12-25 years. This includes facilitating Youth Spaces in various locations across regional Victoria including a fortnightly Youth Space in Gisborne that has been running for a year and a half. 

“I also oversee programs for under 12s and families.” 

Shanleigh does consultation and advocacy work in the emergency management sector on a voluntary basis. 

She also created the Macedon Ranges Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Group. 

“By meeting regularly it enables families and deaf and hard of hearing members of the community to connect with one another,” she said. 

Shanleigh said volunteering with the two local SES units gave her the chance to give back to her community as well as the opportunity to learn new skills. 

“I have been a member with Gisborne, my primary unit, for 6.5 years and they are incredibly accommodating,” she said. 

“Our members have participated in Deaf Awareness and Auslan training to improve their knowledge and ability to communicate with me, all training I plan on implementing in Woodend. 

“We have been able to make reasonable adjustments to enable me to participate in as much operational activities as I can, including Road Crash Rescue.” 

Shanleigh grew up in Gisborne and now lives in Langley.