Casey Aquatic and Recreation Centre

Jon Couston

Introduction

For International Day of People with a Disability this year, the City of Casey in partnership with Centrelink and the YMCA ran a 'Celebrate and Participate' day. This event was held at the Casey Aquatic and Recreation Centre (Casey ARC) where participants had access to pools and outdoor facilities. The event was run on Monday, 5th December, 2005.

Attendance

Approximately 120 people with disabilities and carers attended the event. This was considered a great success, with a big improvement on the attendance rate from last year.

The event organisers from the City of Casey, Centrelink and the YMCA recruited participants through advertising in City of Casey newsletters, on the website, and by promoting the event to the many services in the area who provide services to people with disabilities. Centrelink did a large mail out to people living in the City of Casey who are receiving a disability pension.

These services were very helpful in our attendance levels. After learning of the event, many were eager to attend and brought many of their clients with them. Of particular note were Kalimna Training and Support Services for Adults, and Outlook Victoria.

Key Speakers

The event was fortunate to have the attendance of Casey's newly elected mayor, Cr Kevin Bradford. Cr Bradford said, "International Day of People with a Disability provides an important opportunity to celebrate the efforts and achievements of people with disabilities. The City of Casey is committed to maximising opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in all aspects of community life, and it is fitting to celebrate this year's event at the Casey ARC which offers a range of fun activities for everyone to have a go."

Along with the mayor, another important speaker was present on the day to pledge their support to this event. This speaker was Lisa McIntosh OAM, a Paralympics gold-medallist who encouraged all participants to reach their potential by believing in themselves.

Live Entertainment

A band was hired by the City of Casey to provide live entertainment on the day and this proved to be a great success. The band 'Livewires' is made up of people with disabilities, and they encourage other people with disabilities to embrace music. A group which they have been teaching for the past 12 months also played on the day, and were also generously received.

The band also believed in being interactive and had some participants come on stage with them and sing along with the music. This was certainly a highlight for many of the participants.

Service Organisations

Around 12 organisations came along and set up information stalls which provided people attending the event with information about services available for people with disabilities and their families. Stall holders included employment services, Riding for the Disabled, Kalimna Outreach and Support, Arts Access, Lysterfield Sailing Club, YMCA, Fountain Gate Tennis Club, Centrelink, and the City of Casey had an information stall providing information about services for people with disabilities. These stalls were a good way for the organisations to gain free exposure and promote their services.

One service provider which drew a lot of attention was the Lysterfield Sailing Club. They set up Sailability yachts which are designed for people with disabilities and allowed the participants to hop into them and experience what it's like to be in a yacht. Later in the day one of the yachts was put in the large pool and some of the participants got to experience yachting in a controlled environment.

Another stall which was successful was the Arts Access stall. They supplied information on how to participate in their programs which provide opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in the arts. They brought along materials which the participants could sculpt, paste, and rearrange to produce a finished piece.

Conclusion

The day was a great success for the City of Casey, Centrelink, the YMCA, and all people who took part in the event. The weather was beautiful and the service providers were very informative. We believe that many beneficial relationships were formed between participants and service providers, and hope that this event can continue to prosper in future years.