Lifeskills Taranaki – New asset brings loads of chair
Good old kiwi ingenuity is behind Lifeskills Taranaki’s newest asset – a beach friendly wheelchair.
Thanks to the modified wheelchair, beach accessibility is now possible for all of Lifeskills Taranaki members, and while the warm weather continues, everyone has been happily reaping its benefits.
“When we used to head down to the beach some of our members couldn’t even get onto the sand, let alone in the water, so it’s pretty great to see their faces now. The chair has definitely brought a lot of enjoyment to the people we work alongside,” Lifeskills Taranaki General Manager Stewart Filbee says.
Although sourcing a beach friendly chair had been on the Lifeskills Taranaki’s agenda for a while, it wasn’t until they received a special request from their members that moves were made to make it happen.
“Here [Lifeskills Taranaki] we are very member driven, so each month our people have a Members’ only Meeting to determine the types of activities they would like to do. When I saw the minutes, from the last meeting, which were taken by client rep Natalie Piper, getting a beach friendly wheelchair was on the list, which was just the push we needed to start looking into options,” Stewart says.
Searches led to an online business called Beachwheels NZ which offered beach friendly wheelchairs. After looking further into this option though, they realised that option was a bit out of their price range, so opted for a wheelchair conversion kit.
Thanks to a kind donation of three wheelchairs from the Taranaki Disability Resource Centre, the handy skills of former Lifeskills Taranaki General Manager John Leith, and the kit that contained some wheels with a bit more grunt than a standard chair, it wasn’t long before they had managed to create something functional and beach ready.
Stewart says being able to offer this resource to their people is fantastic. “It came together quite quickly thanks to the continued support we get from Taranaki Disability Resource Centre Trust and John Leith. Our plan now is to get as much use out of it as possible before the good weather packs in!”
Lifeskills Taranaki is also looking into options to make their newest asset available to the wider community, so others can reap its benefits.
“We have already had a lot of fun down at the beach thanks to the chair, so are only too happy to share it with others,” Stewart says.