Pressure is growing on coastal councils to make beaches more accessible for everyone, including wheelchair users.
Accessible Beaches Australia is a national campaign to improve the quality of life for Australian’s living with a disability by improving access to the beach.
Wheelchair users have been excluded for too long from Australia’s famous beaches.
So far 12 beaches in Queensland and Victoria have become accessible. Now South Australian councils are considering placing permanent wheelchair friendly swimming equipment.
Equipment would include mats that allow wheelchairs to easily roll on the sand.
The 10 metre long mats cost just $2500 and last for up to 20 years with no maintenance.
Also being rolled out are amphibious wheelchairs, which allow the user to take a dip in the sea and enjoy the beach as much as so many other Australians.
For many, it has been an experience of a lifetime. Bikky Chapagin had never been in the water, and for the first time, he rolled right in.
‘I used to feel I am isolated, I am different than others, but now I am same as others’ he told Channel 9 News after his first swim.
So far, most of the equipment has only been made possible by crowdfunding, but pressure is growing on coastal councils right around Australia to purchase the equipment permanently.
Various Accessible Beach Days have been planned for other beaches, to demonstrate how easy it is to use the accessible beach equipment.
You can find out more, and petition for your local beach to be accessible at http://accessiblebeaches.com
With so many amazing beaches around our country, why not make them more accessible for all who want to enjoy them?