A community beach day which aims to break down the barriers of beach access for people living with disability will be held this week.
The U-Beach Community Beach Day will take place on Wednesday 15 February at Nielson’s Park Bargara, bringing together CQU physiotherapy and occupational therapy experts and students as well as community supporters to facilitate beach access and activities.
The community event is part of the Universal Beach Access Hub (U-BEACH) project being led by CQU Bundaberg physiotherapy lecturer Sasha Job.
The project aims to improve beach access for every member of the community and provide support to participate in beach-based activities for all people and abilities.
Ms Job said Wednesday’s beach day would offer plenty of activities, fun and accessibility for everyone to enjoy the beach sun, surf and sand.
“U-Beach provides an opportunity for all members of our community to interact and engage with our beautiful local beaches,” she said.
“We will help to facilitate access to the beach for people of all abilities through the use of specialist resources and equipment including beach mats and wheelchairs.
“Our volunteers will provide physical assistance for beach transfers, activities on the sand and activities in the ocean such as swimming, cricket, building sandcastles and even enjoy a picnic.
“We will be supported on the day by a qualified surf lifesaver and will also have support from local community organisations such as Rotary who will be cooking a free sausage sizzle.
“We hope the event will be well attended and that we will have great beach weather on the day!”
U-Beach receives Council support
The project received funding in Bundaberg Regional Council’s 2021-22 budget, with more than $30,000 allocated to a Mobi-Chair, beach matting and beach matting roll and stow for the community to use for free.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council had committed to the funding after Ms Job's research, The U-Beach: Tides of Change, had shone a light on the difficulties faced with beach accessibility.
“The beach is a place that every one of every ability should get to enjoy,” he said.
“Through the use of this equipment and great events like the upcoming U-Beach Community Beach Day, people, including those with mobility limitations and the elderly, will have the opportunity to visit our beautiful beaches.
“I encourage everyone to take advantage of the equipment delivered thanks to this CQUniversity-led research project to demonstrate the desire and demand for these facilities within our community.”
Community beach day on for all
The activities will commence at the Nielson’s Park Surf Lifesaving Club at 9 am on Wednesday 15 February.
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.
Organisers are keen to attract as many attendees as possible to the event and are still calling on community sponsors to help fund activities and the purchase of new beach equipment for future community use.
To register to attend free event, for more information or to enquire about volunteering or sponsorship opportunities please contact the CQU Bundaberg campus on 07 4930 9000 or email Sasha Job at email@example.com.