It was a day that demonstrated how access hurdles for those less able, can be overcome. Organised by Michaela Pascolutti, of Sapphire Support Services, Saturday’s special event at Pambula Surf Life Saving Club was about celebrating and creating inclusive communities, inspired by the inclusions grants awarded to a number of local businesses and organisations by NSW Surf Life Saving.
Grant recipients Pambula Rotary, Coastlife Adventures, Appy Connections and Tulgeen spoke about their projects.
It was also the official launch of the Access4All app, our local accessible directory.
Lynne Koerbin, of Pambula Rotary explained their two grants would be used firstly for a free two-night inclusive leadership camp in December at Pambula for young people (16-25) with spots for those with disabilities.
Rotary partnered with Coastlife Adventures to run leadership activities. Coastlife Adventures have a giant stand up paddleboard which can take up to 10 people and can be used standing, kneeling, sitting or even lying down. The funding also provided two double kayaks and a beach wheelchair.
The second grant is being used to gather information for the Access4All app. The app has been developed by 2pi Software who said the development was quick but getting the content was the time consuming part.
Councillor Sharon Tapscott explained that the app will make it easier for people to understand what is available in the area in terms of accommodation, activities and access to scenic areas.
Tulgeen used the grant to purchase an all-terrain and beach wheelchair and Jen Russell said they had clients waiting for the warmer weather to try it out.
“It also allows families with a disabled person, to be together to enjoy the beach together,” Ms Russell said.
Tulgeen is hoping to have a lifter to help transfer clients from a normal wheelchair to the all-terrain wheelchair.
Kristi Sproates of Appy Connections talked about her research into the use of everyday technology, such as an iPad, for those with communication difficulties. Ms Sproates involved Brad Gordon of South Pambula, who has a speech impairment, in her research. Mr Gordon used the iPad to communicate at a number of venues in Merimbula and Pambula, with “amazing and positive responses from the businesses” Ms Sproates said.
Participants also heard from David Coren, of Bega, who is in a wheelchair, how inaccurate descriptions of access at accommodation can be a real problem.
“There’s a whole market of people who want to get out and travel. We’re not special, not inspiring, we just want to get on with our day,” Mr Coren said.
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