Bendigo disability advocates are pushing for more support and greater inclusion for people living with a disability in the region.
It came as Bendigo honoured International Day of People with Disability on Tuesday with the annual Bendigo Community Fest.
The event, which was in its 12th year, celebrated people of all abilities with music and games at the Bendigo Library Gardens.
"It's really important that we recognise how we can make it so our community is equitable to everyone," Bendigo Community Fest chair Pam Dawkins said.
"We want to make sure there are no barriers to people with a disability from achieving their goals. Everyone has a right to have goals."
Ms Dawkins said it was important people with a disability had more input in decision making.
"In the past, choice was a big concern," Ms Dawkins said. "People with a disability didn't have a choice.
"Now, people with a disability can choose where and how they want to live, and if and where they want to work. There are more opportunities and aid available to them."
The Bendigo Special Development School also celebrated the international day with a morning tea with residents from Bentley's Aged Care.
Interchange Loddon Mallee Region's Alister Nicolson, who helped run the school program, said the event helped to empower the students.
"By inviting residents, it encourages students to take on leadership roles," Mr Nicolson said. "They prepare the food, serve residents, and use social skills, which helps them gain independence.
"They also gain intergenerational perspectives they might not otherwise be exposed to."
Mr Nicolson said the development school was focused on encouraging independence and active participation.
"It's about promoting recognition by the community that people with a disability have valuable contributions to make," he said.
"They are worthy of inclusion and being listened to because of the unique perspectives they can bring."
The school's project manager Belinda Arscott said community attitudes around people with a disability had shifted positively over the years.
"We have higher expectations now," Ms Arscott said. "There's a bit more of a belief that these children can achieve anything if they are properly supported."
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