The Rotary Club of South West Rocks, NSW, has purchased a special floating wheelchair to allow those with mobility issues to enjoy the water at their local beaches.
The chair is located at the Seabreeze Beach Hotel, which generously offered to house and manage bookings for the all-abilities recreational device. It is only a short push by carers or friends to transport the chair to the two beaches across the road. Usage, along with lifejackets, is provided at no cost.
The three-wheel buggy’s unique design allows users to go straight from the beach to the water, with the armrests and wheels floatable. The chair can be moved into three different positions to facilitate each individual user’s comfort.
Before purchase, a trial was held with locals at Horseshoe Bay.
“As a paraplegic, it is some years since I enjoyed a swim and the feeling of floating was fantastic,” volunteer Margaret Harrison said.
One disabled teenage boy had so much fun he cried when he had to return from the water.
The Rotary Club has informed many disability groups of the new facility, so as many people as possible can now enjoy the surf and sun with their family and friends. As hoped, the chair has been in constant use throughout the summer and brought smiles to the faces of many. The club has further helped people with disabilities in its community through the recent addition of a new disabled access ramp at Back Beach, with further similar projects likely to follow.
This article was reprinted with permission from the Rotary Down Under, April 2018 issue.