Surf Life Saving NSW is working with Newcastle businesses and other community organisations to promote the inclusion of people with disability. The project will work to address the physical, logistical and attitudinal barriers that people with disability often encounter in and around coastal locations.
People who live with a disability ‚Äì whether it be a physical, sensory or intellectual disability ‚Äì are active members of our society, but our infrastructure, attitudes and business practices often present significant barriers to that participation. The Community Inclusion Project, funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, will be implemented in the Newcastle/Nobbys Beach area over the next 12 months. The project is working to generate new opportunities for the inclusion of people with a disability in all aspects of community life ‚Äì from the water, to events and activities in parks and reserves, and within local businesses.
A small grant program for businesses and service providers is currently open. Grants of up to $20,000 are available for initiatives that promote inclusion. The grants can be used for a range of initiatives including undertaking access audits of businesses spaces and websites, initiating small upgrades to infrastructure (e.g. installing an access ramp or widening doorways, installing a charging station for wheelchairs/scooters), buying adaptive equipment or paying for staff to undertake training about communicating with and providing appropriate customer service to people with disabilities.
Currently 1 in 5 people in Australia live with one or more disabilities and this represents a significant consumer market that many businesses are currently overlooking. Initiatives such as providing considerate customer service, making menus or services available via iPad or enabling unobstructed movement through a shopfloor are small operational changes that will generate a welcoming environment and provide a significant point of difference for your business.
Applications to the grant program close at 9am on Monday, 3 August 2015. Funded projects are to be implemented between September 2015 and April 2016.
For further information about the Small Grant Program please contact SLSNSW Inclusion Officer Meredith Harrison on (02) 9471 8085. The Grant Guidelines and application form can be accessed online.