A Have a Go Day and Disability Expo in Hamilton next week will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about accessing public buses and gain other skills and advice to enable people to live the independent life they choose.
It’s being organised by Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, Life Unlimited and CCS Disability Action.
The event, celebrating the International Day of Persons with a Disability, will be held at Civic Square on Tuesday 6 December between 11am and 1.30pm. Two buses will be on site for people to get on and off, as well as a disability expo featuring several local organisations.
“People who have disabilities will be able to check out how accessible and easy to use Hamilton buses are,” said Waikato Regional Council’s public transport operations manager Andrew Wilson.
“For some people, buses provide independence and a primary means of transport that’s absolutely vital to their quality of life. We’re really proud of our bus network in the Waikato, especially as all of our buses are completely accessible for wheelchairs, walkers and people with mobility impairments,” said Mr Wilson.
Judy Small, disability advisor at Hamilton City Council says that the Have a Go Day offers an opportunity for everyone to visit Civic Square to talk with a range of service providers with solutions for removing barriers to making the city more accessible for disabled people.
“As the city’s older population increases, so does the incidence of disability. This means having accessible transport, access to information, and access to the environment is becoming more important to more people.
“The Have a Go Day can assist people in dealing with disabilities and make life a little smoother. All people need the freedom to choose how they get around. The day showcases mobility scooters and other equipment especially designed for use by disabled people. In addition to disability groups and Waikato Regional Council’s BUSIT team, there will be other transport providers there, who will display how barriers can be overcome and showcase ways for the disability community to travel around the city independently, safely and with dignity,” she says.
Life Unlimited general manager of Enterprise William Hughes, says people should seek advice for mobility problems early on.
“Mobility problems can lead to social isolation so it’s important to get some help at an early stage. It’s amazing the difference a mobility aid can make to someone’s wellbeing and our staff at the Life Unlimited Stores are trained to provide independent advice to find the best solution for each person.
“Even a properly fitted walking stick can give a real confidence boost and, of course, mobility scooters can open up a whole new world to someone struggling to get out and about.”
Statistics from the 2013 Census show that 90 per cent of people with a physical disability have limited mobility.
The Life Unlimited Store, which is part of the disability services charitable trust Life Unlimited, offers free, non-biased advice and information to assist people in making informed decisions via its free Disability Information Service.
Store staff, who will be present at the Have a Go Day, can advise on the range of free support available and how people can access it.
CCS Disability Action’s service co-ordinator Maurice Flynn has also been involved with the planning of the event.
“CCS Disability Action Waikato has been an active supporter of Have a Go Day right from the beginning. This year we will have our fully modified driver training car on display. It has been adapted for driving with hand controls. Learning how to drive can be a life changing experience for disabled people in terms of independence and mobility. On the day we will answer your questions about how you can access the car and how we can provide support to enable independence,” he says.
Media are welcome to attend on the day. Our photo shows a view of last year’s event.