Helping to make the beach accessible for all

Most Australians love a day at the beach and love to have some aquatic fun in the ocean off of our beaches, but unfortunately for many people they have difficulty accessing either.

As covered in the front page story of the Port Lincoln Times, this past Friday the Port Lincoln community welcomed the introduction of beach matting and a floating wheelchair to help people with disabilities access the beach freely.

The project was spearheaded by Red Cross regional manager Kerry Schubert and volunteer Janet Whittaker, who said of the project “it was time Port Lincoln needed this.”

This comes after nearby Tumby Bay District Council introduced its own wheelchair and matting more than 10 months ago in a project organised by the Tumby Bay Progress Association and the Tumby Bay District Council. 

The joy shown by Elisabeth Healy (pictured) during the chair’s demonstration on Friday morning mirrored that of Oakley Dyer when he was the first to demonstrate Tumby Bay’s floating wheelchair in March last year.

As mentioned previously most Australians love a day at the beach and a swim in the ocean so for these organisations to help create that accessibility demonstrates the caring nature of our communities.

This is not the only example of this in our community, many are familiar with the work of groups like Riding for the Disabled or the Port Lincoln Netball Association with its Gems program.

Helping people with disabilities take part in programs such as these have shown to provide a boost for participants, including in confidence.

We also see it in education scholarship programs, like the ones offered by the local Bendigo Bank branches or the Eyre Peninsula Community Foundation to help young people achieve educational goals without the risk of distance or financial obstacles.

Not everyone loves going to the beach but everyone has dreams and goals they wish to obtain but can feel there are obstacles, in many different forms, holding them back.

Efforts and initiatives like these can help everyone take part in activities and participate in the community.

And it’s a fantastic representation of the generous and thoughtful nature of Eyre Peninsula residents.