People with a disability and those who struggle with mobility will be able to enjoy the sea and the sand at Accessible Beach Day in Brighton next week.
The day will take place at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club beach on Saturday, February 18 and will feature a range of mobility aids to help beach goers with a disability get onto the sand and into the water with ease.
Mobility aids will include all-terrain, self-propelled wheelchairs, a floating beach wheelchair, as well as beach matting that will provide easy access across the sand to the water.
As the primary organiser of the event, Push Mobility began accessible beach days with the intention to make beaches easier to enjoy.
Push Mobility’s Managing Director Shane Hryhorec said beyond giving people with a disability or mobility difficulties the chance to fully experience the beach, it also gave the wider community “a taste of what beach access looks like”.
Mr Hryhorec said accessible beach days were incredibly important to people with a disability and contributed to their quality of life.
“It’s something that people never think they are going to experience – sometimes it has brought them to tears,” he said.
One of Push Mobility’s ultimate goals is to make beaches across Australia more accessible for people with a disability, for parents with prams and for the elderly with mobility issues.
“It’d be great to see, by 2020 at least, half of the beaches in Australia become more accessible,” Mr Hryhorec said.
Brighton resident Ade Djajamihardja said the beach day would enable him to experience the beach, rather than just looking at it.
“Getting across the soft sand and into the water would be too difficult normally but the all-terrain wheelchairs make anything possible.”
Melanie Muir, Chairperson for Disability Advocacy Victoria, said the many people with mobility issues will cherish the opportunity to get onto the beach as part of Accessible Beach Day in Brighton.
Ms Muir said an event like this was important to highlight some of the barriers people with mobility challenges face every day.
“It serves as a reminder of all the things that can be taken for granted by the broader community,” she said.
“The more we understand the access needs of people with a disability, the more we can understand and accept the notion of inclusion and the need to make changes.”
Bayside Mayor Cr Alex del Porto said the day was a valuable opportunity for locals with a disability to enjoy one of Bayside’s iconic beaches.
“It opens up a full beach experience through innovative mobility aids that can get onto the sand and into the water of our beautiful bay,” he said.
The Accessible Beach Day is supported by Bayside Council, Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Disabled Divers Association and Push Mobility.
Accessible Beach Day – Brighton
Date: Saturday, February 18
Time: 9.30am – 2pm
Location: Royal Brighton Yacht Club beach, 253 Esplanade, Middle Brighton
Further information: Accessible Beach Day Facebook event page