Friday, 13 July 2018

Mandurah is becoming known for hosting major events – Crabfest, Wearable Arts Mandurah, Stretch, and the Children’s Festival come to mind.

We want to make sure that everyone in our community and all our visitors have equal opportunities to take part and enjoy these events. This is a key objective of the City’s 2015-2020 Access and Inclusion Plan, the progress of which was reported on at a recent City of Mandurah Council meeting.

Driven by community input through the Access Participation and Inclusion Group) (API) and the Access and Inclusion Advisory Group (AIAG), the City has implemented a number of innovative initiatives to improve our events. These include the provision of Auslan interpreters, manned Acrod bays, and sensory rest stops. Sensory rest stops are places where those who are especially sensitive to noise and other sensory stimulants can chill out in a quiet place.

Beyond providing event facilities for those with disabilities, the City is also working to provide work and volunteering experience at our events for people in our community with disabilities.

A great example of this is work done by the team from Interlife a not for profit organisation that supports people with disability to find paid work.

The City of Mandurah contracts people with disabilities through Interlife to do a variety of important jobs for the City. At our events they work with the events crew to get the venues ready – this might involve high pressure cleaning and garden work. They are also the key team making sure the events are kept clean and tidy.

Other contracts they work on include cleaning the City’s BBQ facilities and some road cleaning works. In fact the City of Mandurah provides around 65 per cent of the work arranged through Interlife.

Aaron Searle, Intelife Supported Employment Operations Coordinator said that this work provided opportunities for local people with disabilities to work and grow within their own community.

“Most our guys are young people are proud of the jobs they do and what they achieve, “Arron said.

“They are certainly acknowledged and receive a lot of positive feedback from the members of the public.

“Cleaning might not sound hard but it’s a tough gig out there. Some of our people have a lot of anxiety and when you have literally thousands of people in a confined space it is a big step and challenge to overcome – but most of all they are very proud of being part of their community,” he said.

There are also a number of people with disabilities that regularly volunteer at City of Mandurah events.

One of these volunteers is Hayley Bracknell, who has been a star volunteer at Crabfest and the Children’s Festival.

“My favourite job is the prams - I like being with the children,” said Hayley. “I’m really proud of what this City has and is continuing to do to improve access and inclusion for people with a disability,” said Mandurah Mayor, Rhys Williams.

“But we can always do more and I look forward to working with the community representatives on the API and the AIAG to point us in the right direction,” the Mayor said.