New wheelchair makes life easier for disabled swimmers

New aquatic freedom | PHOTOS & VIDEO

FOR Macksville’s Kerry Sanders the new ‘Pelican Wheelchair’ at the Macksville Memorial Aquatic and Fitness Centre is a much appreciated upgrade that makes entry into the 50 metre pool safer and easier.

“It’s great – the chair is purpose-built so it is much easier for the staff to get me into the water,” Kerry said.

“The pool gives me a freedom that I do not otherwise have as well as huge physical relief for my back.

“But is is not just the chair, it is the staff as well … they all help to give me this independence and I really appreciate them and the support of the council.”

Purchased with a combination of local fund raising and grant funding, the wheelchair connects easily and quickly to the pool-side hoist allowing entry into the pool with dignity.

With the arrival of warmer weather and the opening of the 50m pool, the new chair allows people the choice of using either of the two pools at the Aquatic and Fitness Centre Swimming for water-based exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Nambucca Shire Council’s Access Committee member, Cr Susan Jenvey, said it was a joy to see the smile on Kerry’s face.

“That extra movement means a lot to Kerry and hats off to the council for providing the chair. The Access Committee works with the community and the council to ensure equity of access for people with disabilities … this is a wonderful initiative.”

The council’s Business Development Manager, Wayne Lowe, said making the pool purpose-built for disability access was part of the business plan.

“By catering to people with disabilities, tourists travelling up and down the coast know this is a place where they can stop for a swim and a break.”

Mr Lowe said there were also plans to purchase special scales for people in wheelchairs.

“The more facilities we offer, the more business we will attract. In the last five years the use of the Aquatic Centre has grown four fold.”

The International Day of People with Disability is celebrated on December 3 (this Saturday) each year – it is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions people with disability make to our community and to work to remove barriers to their participation in day-to-day activities. For more information, phone 65681445, call in at 23 Cooper Street Macksville or visit http://www.macksvillemafc.com.au/