Sail with ability

Gill Weekes

It rained all day and the water wasn't just in the bay! On Saturday 3rd December the East Coast celebrated ability at a fantastic day of fun activities on the beautiful Georges Bay. Despite the rain 60 people gathered on the foreshore and shared coats and experiences.

The Healthy Community Project and Break O'Day Health Resource Association worked in partnership to provide the event with major sponsorship provided by the Break O'Day Council, Tasmania Police St. Helens and Rotary St. Helens.

"It was a most relaxing experience to go on the yacht" said one Mum. People of all ages and abilities from Break O'Day, Bicheno and Launceston had rides on all types of vessels on the day. There was the Sailability yacht (specially designed to cater for individuals with disabilities), St. Helens Marine Rescue boat, Cr. John McGiveron's boat Backlash and the Bay of Fires Dive boat. For some of the people attending it was a 'maiden voyage'. We also had toys undercover provided by the St. Helens Toy Library and the Launceston New Horizons came to offer physical activities.

The East Coast New Horizons club was launched on the day and provided with $500 funding for equipment which was secured by the Break O'Day Health Resource Association through St. Giles. East Coast New Horizons Club aims to provide recreational activities for people with disabilities in the Break O'Day area. This group is linked with the Launceston New Horizons and will act as a catalyst for regional individuals to participate in the Special and Para Olympics. Anyone wishing to find out more about East Coast New Horizons can phone Kaelene Crossingham at the School on 63761214 or Joan Harris on 63762433.

International Day of People with a DisAbility is a worldwide celebration that occurs on 3 December each year. Originally declared by the United Nations General Assembly in October 1992 as the International Day of Disabled Persons, the Australian event was renamed the International Day of People with a DisAbility by community representatives in 1997. NICAN is the organization that coordinates the international day, NICAN also provides information on recreation, tourism, sport and the arts for people with disabilities, for more information go to www.nican.com.au.

It was a great achievement to hold such a big event in our isolated rural community and it would never have been possible without the generous support from the community. The Healthy Community Project would like to thank all of the participants, business' and community groups who contributed to the success of the day (see over page for sponsor list).