Kelly Vincent – Accessible Beach Day at Henley Beach

Transcript from the video:

Hi everyone! Kelly here, obviously. Some of you would have seen already that they are having an accessible beach day here at Henley Beach where they are having an accessible beach day, supported by the City of Charles Sturt. And Dignity Party is really pleased to see this happen, because as some of you would know, we’ve been lobbying very hard to get accessible beach mats like the one just here, and the beach chairs rolling out behind me. We have seen some amazing things already this morning. A man has gone to the beach for the first time in his life; in a floating wheelchair, got out on the ocean for the first time in 34 years. These are some really simple things we can do to make our community more accessible and enjoyable to everyone. And as you can see from the smiles of the people coming out of the water behind me, it is an amazing experience. So Dignity Party is really pleased to see this happen. We have been lobbying some local councils, particularly councils with beaches in their areas to see this happen, and we now have a couple of beach mats rolling out across South Australia, including Seacliff and Semaphore, but we have a long way to go. We would love to see this at every beach, so that particularly during the summer, people can enjoy going to the beach just like everyone else. Of course it’s not just for wheelchair users like me, it’s for older people, people who have had amputations and can’t walk on the soft sand with their prosthetic limbs, so this really is an investment in making our community enjoyable for everyone. So, we congratulate the City of Charles Sturt for doing this, but we would love to see other councils come onboard, too.

Of course, we would also love to see a few other things happen to make the community accessible for everyone. And many of you would know that Dignity Party has been lobbying to get Changing Places in South Australia. For those of you who don’t know, Changing Places are accessible toilets with a few additional features including but not limited to a hoist and an adult-sized changing table. There are about 14 000 South Australians right now who are adults who need to be assisted to change, but cannot do that because of a lack of adult-sized changing tables. So they are very limited in where they can visit, or they are forced to change on the floor of a public toilet. I am sure I don’t need to tell anyone that that is not an acceptable solution. So Dignity Party will continue to work with local councils to bring Changing Places to South Australia –to begin with the Adelaide CBD. And we are very close, too. We are working with the Adelaide City Council on getting one in the CBD and I am really excited to let you know when that will happen. It would be great to see one right here at Henley Beach because when people go in the water and have a great time, they need to get changed!

So we have a long way to go and will continue working on this, but it is great to see this happen, and see the smiles on the faces of people experiencing something that should be taken for granted for the first time in their lives.
If you are not here already, head down! I think the beach mat will be here until about 1, you can go on the beach mat with your own wheelchair at anytime up until 1pm, but you do need to book in to use one of the beach chairs available. So, make sure you get down and I look forward to seeing you here! Thanks!