For over 20 years Volunteering Gold Coast (VGC) has been connecting communities through the power of volunteerism. Volunteering Gold Coast believe that anything is possible through the power of giving back and creating social impact. We recognise the significant value that volunteering brings to the community, and share this impact across the whole of the Gold Coast.
Volunteering Gold Coast has collaborated with local surf clubs and the City of Gold Coast to implement the Accessible Beaches program to ensure these Gold Coast Beaches are accessible for everybody.
With 20% of the Gold Coast population estimated to be living with a disability, it is important to create experiences and opportunities that are equally accessible for all abilities. As a part of VGC’s ongoing mission to create social impact on the Gold Coast, we are helping to make the beaches more inclusive and accessible.
Every weekend of the summer patrol season, accessible beach mats and beach friendly wheelchairs are available at participating surf clubs, designed to assist people to reach the water’s edge. A team of dedicated VGC volunteers are on site each week to set up the mats and provide care and support, creating a positive impact for people utilising the mats.
Accessible Beaches is a success because the initiative is changing people’s lives. People who have not been to the beach in 20 years, have been able to get to the water’s edge fulfilling life long dreams. Being in the ocean has assisted individuals through occupational therapy, wellness, joy, inclusion, physiotherapy and social participation.
A happy member of the community contacted Volunteering Gold Coast to share their mothers experience swimming at Tallebudgera Creek, who had not been for a swim in 30 years.
“I wanted to let you know that mum had such a great experience yesterday. She has been using a walking frame since we got home from the beach instead of her wheelchair. The experience really motivated her; although it’s difficult she’s actually continued using her walking frame. We’ll be back as soon as possible.”
“I know that years ago she could walk a very short distance with the frame and some assistance. I’ve not heard of her doing this for a long while. She told me on the phone last night that she was puffed out and I asked why? She said “Walking from my bedroom, to the lounge room, with a walking frame.“ Faye – Accessible Beaches regular.
Accessible Beaches Creates:
- Increased awareness of disabilities and diversity in the community
- Connecting people living with a disability and Surf Life Saving Clubs
- Marketing and media reporting on the initiative, increasing community support
- Volunteer engagement increases community confidence
- Access mats that support people living with a disability in a wheel chair, and also assisted people using a walker frame, and families with prams.
For more information, visit volunteeringgc.org.au