FundAbility creates a splash in Wagga

By Claire Absolum, 9 August 2017 , Comments

Get Including!’ is the catchcry for Northcott’s FundAbility grant program. The program provides financial support to community projects that promote social inclusion for children and young people with disability in NSW.

Recently, Northcott Wagga Wagga worked in partnership with the Wagga Autism Support Group, Wagga Wagga City Council and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services to upgrade the accessibility of facilities at the local swimming pool.

With the support of a $19,000 grant from FundAbility, a new accessible change room was added which features an adult and children’s change table and hoist. Two new water wheelchairs were also purchased to support children with limited muscular capacity while swimming and which also helps to keeps their heads from falling forward.

“It’s made a huge difference for people in the community,” says Michael Merrylees, Northcott Murrumbidgee Area Manager, who spearheaded the project. “It’s the only publicly accessible change facility in Wagga and it has started a conversation with council about how we can work with them and the NSW government to modify existing public facilities to make them more accessible. Projects like these allow us to raise awareness about inclusion and put accessibility on the agenda.”

One in five Australians including 1.3 million people in NSW have disability that affects their ability to interact with others, communicate, get around their local community and care for themselves. Research shows that over fifty per cent of these people feel socially excluded, which means they are missing out on activities, events and community involvement. FundAbility aims to address this issue at a grassroots level.

Northcott CEO, Kerry Stubbs, says there are many easy and effective ways to make a place or activity more welcoming for young children and teenagers who have disability, such as setting up an iPad in a local café with a sign language App so people who can’t communicate through speech can place an order, or holding an information session with retailers in a shopping centre on better ways to serve customers with disability.

Kerry says, “FundAbility is about getting the message into communities that you don’t need to make major, expensive changes to create major positive changes for children and young people with disability; rather, you just need to get including.”

If you have a great idea about how to promote social inclusion for people with disability in your local area contact us.

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