Earlier this year, 20 surf lifesavers volunteered their time to work one-on-one with 14 children with disabilities down at Long Beach, Sandy Bay, through the Starfish Nipper Program, which involves swimming, catching waves, beach runs and exercises.
Leanne Johannesen, manager of training and community programs for SLST said, “We don’t want to put barriers in front of people who have a disability, instead we want to give all Tasmanians the ability to access the water and support them on that journey, so the beach is an enjoyable place instead of too often being avoided due to the perception of it being ‘too dangerous and unsafe’.”
The Starfish Nipper Program is one of many community programs run around the country to improve access to beach activities for children with disabilities. Leanne said that SLST was delighted to be able to roll out this program locally – fostering inclusiveness and diversity to Tasmanian surf life saving clubs.
The Starfish Nipper Program is just one of the ways SLST has promoted surf lifesaving this summer, engaging members of the community and most importantly creating opportunities for those with disabilities.