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ActiveVoice: Improving access for all

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Access Mat in action at Mount Maunganui.

How many of us live here for the lifestyle? The beaches, the sun, the recreational opportunities.
Now imagine sitting on the dunes or footpath, only able to look at the ocean or dream of touching the sand.

You may still feel the sun on your face, but you’d be missing out on so much more.

Last summer, Halberg Disability Sport Foundation worked with Hibiscus Surf School to provide adaptable surf lessons and a beach chair to cross the sand and enter the water.

This year, we teamed up with Tauranga City Council to provide an Access Mat for everyone to enjoy the beach and access the water.

The council will provide storage and maintenance of the mat, which will be placed at different venues to allow access for all – this weekend, the mat was out opposite Mt Drury for locals and visitors to use.

We’re also providing better access at the 2017 Anchor AIMS Games. Come September 2017, we are expecting another 10,000-plus visitors to the AIMS Games, held here in Tauranga.

This year AIMS has provided two inclusive codes: swimming and cross-country. There will be three swimming events and one cross-country event available to disabled athletes.

I will be the Disabled Athlete coordinator for athletes with a disability competing in the Para Swimming and Para Athletics (cross-country) events. These para events will run alongside the long-standing events held annually at AIMS.

Paralympics NZ will provide all athletes New Zealand wide with a provisional classification for competition and all times will be recorded, setting the first national para records at this age level. This event will also provide a great place for talent identification of upcoming para athletes.

Sport Bay of Plenty have also provided support for any Bay of Plenty schools competing, to access free training for the inclusion of disabled students into the school physical activity, physical education sport or recreation (camp). There are spots for the first 10 schools to register. AIMS registered schools will have first preference.

For more info, contact me, Disability Sport Adviser for Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, on cherryl@halberg.co.nz

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