More than 300 skaters with a disability took to the ice rink on Friday 12 July as part of the LiveBetter All Abilities Day during the Bathurst Winter Festival. A partnership between LiveBetter Community Services and Bathurst Regional Council, the day aims to empower people of all abilities to be part of the Winter Festival and step outside their daily routine.
With sessions running on the hour between 10am and 4pm, skaters had the opportunity to enjoy the winter wonderland in a safe and supported environment with reduced capacity and volunteers on hand to assist.
LiveBetter’s Community Access Manager, Michelle Stark, said organisers were expecting big numbers at today’s All Abilities event and were not disappointed by the turn out, with people travelling from as far as Warren and Nyngan.
“For some it’s their first-time ice skating and it’s amazing to see the pure joy on their faces when they get out there,” said Ms Stark.
“It’s also great to see multiple disability service providers come together to enjoy the day. It gives participants a chance to meet new people and socialise,” she said.
In addition to providing ice skating sessions for people with disability, Bathurst Regional Council has also offered paid employment to several NDIS participants as part of the Winter Festival.
LiveBetter customer Lara, who accesses the SLES (School Leavers Employment Support) program, gained paid employment at the Winter Festival. Lara’s duties included selling tickets, handing out skates and helping people get on and off the ice rink.
“My long-term goal is to work full time. Being able to work at the Winter Festival gives me independence and gets me out into the community,” said Lara.
It’s the third year that LiveBetter has partnered with Bathurst Regional Council and Ms Stark said the organisation loved being involved.
“All Abilities Day empowers people of all abilities to have the opportunity to take part in and enjoy the Winter Festival. It’s vital that these events continue to be accessible and inclusive in our communities because everyone deserves the right to enjoy life and participate in activities anyone can do,” Michelle said.