Community education, it’s game on

Wheelchair sports drives home road safety, thanks to a generous grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

In a pioneering move for the region, Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT has debuted its Road Safety and Disability Awareness program, courtesy of a substantial $120,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.

The roadshow, led by individuals with lived experience of disability, tours schools across the Hunter, including Hamilton South OOSH, Maitland Christian College, Whitebridge High School, East Maitland Primary School, and Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College.

Carly Bush, Executive Officer of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, expressed excitement about the program’s innovative approach to community education.

“The program doesn’t currently exist in our region, which is why we are honoured to partner with Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT to bring this important message to the Hunter,” said Bush.

“Participants are invited to have open discussions with the presenters about life with a disability, followed by a game of wheelchair basketball, which helps to cement learnings from the roadshow, as well as provide many with their first experience of playing adaptive sport.

Thanks to the funding, Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT now has a dedicated van, equipment, and resources to support Northern NSW Roadshows, significantly increasing their ability to deliver crucial road safety messages to young people throughout our region and beyond.

Mick Garnett, CEO of Wheelchair Sports NSW/ACT, emphasised the program’s expansion into the Hunter region, citing a growing demand for their services.

“Our two Sydney-based vans are at capacity, meaning we’ve had to turn away bookings in the Hunter region. Without the support of Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, we could only service 6% of potential schools in Newcastle. That’s not good enough.

We’re tasks by Transport for NSW to deliver the road safety messaging on their behalf. Mr. Garnett explained.

“This will supercharge our ability to reach young people with crucial road safety messages, as we all work towards zero incidents of road trauma.”

The program not only addresses a vital need for road safety education but also provides employment opportunities for individuals living with disabilities.

As the program is rolled out in the Hunter, it marks a significant milestone in breaking down barriers, fostering inclusivity, diversity and working towards a community where everyone can thrive.

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