Your say: Survey to promote inclusion and access for all
FEELING the sand between your toes, the cool breeze in your hair and the warm sunshine on your skin is a beautiful feeling and one that everyone deserves to experience.
Which is why a team of passionate staff and students from CQUniversity are working to make Bundaberg's beautiful beaches accessible for people living with a disability or mobility restriction.
Physiotherapy lecturer at the Bundaberg campus and chief investigator of the U-Beach project Sasha Job encouraged members of the community who are impacted to complete a survey that will assist with project research and development.
"We are looking for older participants who are aged 65 years and older to complete the survey
who may have limitations with walking or aren't as confident on their feet, to tell us about the barriers they face with beach access and the benefits of going to the beach," Ms Job said.
"Children and adults who are living with disabilities are also encouraged to respond to the survey and carers, parents and guardians can complete it on their behalf."
Feedback collected from the anonymous community survey will allow Ms Job and her team to determine how beach access can be improved on local patrolled beaches and what equipment would best serve the community.
Part of the project will include creating access paths on beaches with removable mats, as well as supplying specialised wheelchairs and walkers designed to float on water and travel on the sand.
After the initial phase of the project saw full access granted at Tannum Sands Beach for people living with disabilities, Ms Job said she felt honoured to be part of something so special.
"It has been such an empowering and worthwhile experience so far and you really feel like you're making a difference," Ms Job said.
"Research shows that going to the beach promotes physical activity and improves mental health and wellbeing.
"There are people who have never been able to go to the beach in their entire life or haven't been able to access the beach in 29 years and seeing their faces light up is so fulfilling … I've actually cried a number of times."
Ms Job said the preliminary information will be presented in October, with plans to launch Bundaberg's first accessible beach at Bargara's Neilson Beach by summertime.
The team intends to introduce the special initiative at all patrolled beaches within the community.
Click here to complete the survey before Friday, August 14.