A beach weekend for people living with a disability will be held at Altona this month.
West Footscray-based Independence Australia, a social enterprise supporting people with disabilities, is hosting the event which aims to promote access and inclusion for wheelchair users.
Client services manager Louis Rowe became a paraplegic in a motorcycle accident in Thailand at age 22 in 2007.
“I haven’t been to the beach at all since, so I’m looking forward to this day to have the opportunity,” he said.
“It’s very Australian to head to the beach in summer but not everybody has the opportunity if you’ve got a physical disability.
“Obviously, there’s the sand and the surf, but there’s also another barrier of having somebody there to help you if you need.
“We’ll provide support workers to help people get into and out of the beach chairs, go down to the water, sit on the sand, and hopefully they’ll enjoy the beach like all Australians do.”
Hobsons Bay council has rolled out beach matting for wheelchairs and provides beach wheelchairs for use on the sand and in the water.
While bookings are normally required to use the wheelchairs, no bookings are needed for the Independence Australia event.
“There’ll be two support workers for each person using the beach wheelchairs, and if they want to go right into the water or sit at the edge, we’ll support them,” Mr Rowe said.
“I’m looking forward to just lying on the sand – I haven’t done it for 12 years.”
The Accessible Beach Weekend is on Friday, February 15 and Saturday, February 16 from 11am-4pm at Altona beach (opposite Altona Life Saving Club).
For more information, visit facebook.com/events/761029960939735