Creating waves for those with special needs

Published on
3 February 2020

A new beach wheelchair is giving children such as 10-year-old Indiana King the chance to join in on the summer fun.

Indiana has cerebral palsy, a rare congenital disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination, meaning a trip to the beach can be a near impossible task.

But thanks to a $5,000 community grant from Aurora Energy, the Somerset Surf Life Saving Club was recently able to purchase a fit-for-purpose wheelchair so she never has to miss out again.

Indiana’s mum, Tammy, said seeing the joy on her daughter’s face was enough to convince her that every surf life saving club in Australia should have a beach wheelchair.

“She just loves it. She really likes the beach but having access to it has been really difficult so this has made a huge difference to her that’s for sure,” Mrs King said.

“Previously when she walked on sand she’d usually be in pain for a couple of days afterwards. This gives her so much more freedom and she gets to feel included.

“A huge thank you to Aurora Energy for allowing our club to become more inclusive.”

The beach wheelchair will be located at the Somerset Surf Life Saving Club for public use and support of programs such as Starfish Nippers, which is an aquatic program for children and adults with a disability, and New Horizons, a disability sporting group that Indiana participates in at the club.

Aurora Energy Community Program Coordinator Laura Reed said the energy retailer was proud to support a program which fostered inclusion and contributed to making Tasmania a great place to live.

“Hearing the story of Indiana warms our hearts,” Ms Reed said.

“Going to the beach is just a normal part of summer for many Tasmanians, which most of us take for granted, so we’re really proud we can play a small part to make it that little bit easier for people with a disability.”

The grants assist to deliver projects or programs that make a practical difference in the lives of all Tasmanians.

Aurora Energy’s next round of community grants is expected to open in the coming months.