Bundaberg residents living with a disability or mobility restrictions may soon be able to access local beaches and enhance their lives through movement, thanks to the work of the Universal Beach Access Hub (U-Beach).
U-Beach is a project driven by CQUniversity, in collaboration with Bundaberg Regional Council, Surf Lifesaving Queensland, Community Lifestyle Support, and Rotary Bundaberg Region, as well as local education providers and sporting clubs.
The hub is aiming to provide specialised equipment including access paths, sand and floating wheelchairs, and walkers to the region's beach locations: Nielson's, Elliott Heads and Moore Park Beach.
Providing physical activity opportunities for all
CQUniversity Physiotherapy lecturer, Sasha Job says U-Beach aims to break down the participation and social challenges associated with beach access and provide physical activity opportunities for everyone.
“Through innovative, inclusive and supportive strategies, such as U-Beach, we are able to provide beach accessibility and support flexible options for physical activity that meet the needs of diverse lifestyles, abilities, and interests,” she says.
“Through proactive collaboration, community service groups can inspire and empower individuals to be physically active, while sporting clubs and schools will have a unique opportunity to expand their physical activity and recreation programs and to include individuals who previously could not access our beaches.”
“Tourism groups can also promote the Bundaberg region as a place that offers inclusive and accessible experiences, making it appealing to a wider range of visitors of all abilities and ages.”
Ms Job says it's anticipated that beach access will be free, however, costs for organised events, such as sporting competitions, may be incurred.
“Collaborators are working hard to secure much-needed funding and finalise operational plans and agreements so the project can start making a difference to people’s lives, in the most cost-effective way possible.
Ms Job says she is very humbled and excited by this project because it’s a sign that the tide is starting to change.
“It will be an honour to welcome all individuals to our beautiful beaches and to witness the pure joy on their faces.
“After all, research demonstrates that green spaces improve happiness, general well-being, health and brain function.”
U-Beach is an extension of the 2018 accessibility project, which saw CQUniversity Physiotherapy lecturers work alongside Accessible Beaches Australia and Push Mobility to make Tannum Sands Beach permanently accessible to those living with a disability.
Originally published here.
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