Jamie Leavers, John Parkes and Perri Davis demonstrate how easy the Mobi wheelchair is to use on the matting. Photo: Laura Thomas
Jamie Leavers, John Parkes and Perri Davis demonstrate how easy the Mobi wheelchair is to use on the matting. Photo: Laura Thomas

Mat rolled out to make Bowen beach more accessible

THE azure waters of Horseshoe Bay can now be enjoyed by even more people thanks to the work of a group of self-proclaimed "grey nomads".

Earlier this year, the Horseshoe Bay Social Club secured more than $20,000 in funding for four 10m lengths of Mobi-Mat and a floating mobility wheelchair through the Queensland Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

They were able to roll out the red, or in this case blue, carpet last month to give people of all abilities, including the elderly, those who use a wheelchair and mothers with prams, easier access to the beach at Horseshoe Bay.

Lengths of matting now stretch from the start of the sand straight into the water and a floating wheelchair sits ready for those wanting to take a dip.

The mat makes it easier for Cris Davis to get down to the water.
The mat makes it easier for Cris Davis to get down to the water.

Horseshoe Bay Social Club president Perry Davis said it was great to give something back to the community.

The club is made up of about 140 "retired grey nomads" who visit the region during winter.

Mr Davis, who is from Ocean Grove in Victoria, was proud of the club's efforts to help make the beach more accessible to everyone.

"We frequent this area and we like to put something back because we love to come here," he said.

Jamie Leavers, John Parkes and Perri Davis take the Mobi wheelchair for a spin.
Jamie Leavers, John Parkes and Perri Davis take the Mobi wheelchair for a spin.

"It's a second home for a lot of us.

"My wife has rheumatoid arthritis and she struggles to enter the sand, and there's other people who have been here in the past that struggle to enter the water.

"It's not just for the people here, it's for the whole Bowen community as well and people that visit and come through."

The club's grants officer Mike Conroy said the matting could also be used by mothers with strollers, divers with heavy gear and people using Mobi canoes as well as the older generation.

Horseshoe Bay Social Club member Ann Learmonth, treasurer Laraine Burton, secretary Janelle Bender, member Mike Conry and president Perri Davis.
Horseshoe Bay Social Club member Ann Learmonth, treasurer Laraine Burton, secretary Janelle Bender, member Mike Conry and president Perri Davis.

"It's more than just the disabled who can use the Mobi-Mat because a lot of us have got awkward knees or hips or something like that," he said.

Two sections of the matting currently sit on the left side of the beach close to the toilets and disability parking sports.

Mr Conroy hoped the other two sections could be placed on the right side of the bay to allow access to the calmer water.

The floating wheelchair can be reserved by phoning Horseshoe Bay Resort on 4786 2564.


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