IT was a day for all abilities at Fingal Beach on Sunday with Push Mobility matting making access from the concrete path into the water possible for people of all abilities.
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Andy Fielding who is blind and has other mobility issues was wheeled down to the water and also took a turn in the mobichair with floatation devices.
It was two thumbs up for Andy who test drove the new floating wheelchairs recently purchased by Ability Links for Port Stephens beaches.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer says it’s a fantastic initiative that is being launched in time for the summer beach season.
“Our Accessible Beach Day is an opportunity to see these brand new chairs in action! They will soon be available for anyone to use at Fingal, One Mile and Birubi beaches,” he said.
“With the help of Ability Links, this Council is working hard to improve the quality of life for people living with a disability across Port Stephens.
“We’re lucky to have many beautiful beaches and this initiative will ensure that everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy them.”
Ability Links program manager Leonie Miller congratulated all those involved with the Beaches For Everybody initiative.
“We have walked alongside Surf Life Saving Clubs, their members and guests, beach users and Port Stephens Council to put meaningful measures in place to make our beaches more accessible and inclusive of every body,” Ms Miller said. “The results are a testament to the willingness of all involved to open our communities up more and more to people with disabilities, their families and carers. Bring on summer!”
Mandy Thompson of Fingal Bay Surf Life Saving Club told News Of The Area, “We are hoping to see the matting permanently installed and we are working with Council on this at the moment.”
Shane Hryhorec of Push Mobility took his wheelchair for a spin down the matting showing how easy it is to navigate on wheels, he also stated that the matting makes getting to the water easier for older residents as well.
Permanently adding the matting at Fingal would make the beach truly accessible as the Council facilities already boast a disabled toilet and shower.
By Marian SAMPSON