Surf Life Saving Tasmania has over the last 12-months been working with other states, clubs and organisations within the disability sector to be able to provide the Tasmanian Community the opportunity to be part of the Starfish Nipper Program that enables children with various disabilities to take part in swimming, catching waves, beach runs and exercises just like other surf lifesavers do. Thanks to a grant awarded in 2017 from Allport Bequest SLST have been able to build a stock of modified and colorful gear and equipment to be used in this program and alike. Also to City of Hobart for promoting the availability of a Beach Wheelchair for use by the public at Sandy Bay.
Over the past 2 days, 20 lifesavers volunteered their time to work one on one with a child through the starfish nippers program. 14 special needs children successfully completed the program down at Long Beach, Sandy Bay today.
Leanne Johannesen, Manager of Training and Community Programs for Surf Life Saving Tasmania said; "We don't want to put barriers in front of people who have a disability, instead we want to give all Tasmanian’s the ability to access the water and support them on that journey so the beach is an enjoyable place instead of being perceived as unsafe."
Bridget Fasnacht (Program Coordinator) said; “The program was an absolute success and there was so much positive feedback from the parents. It is so rewarding being able to see the children having so much and great to see Tasmanian lifesavers being a part of something new.