Monday, January 12, 2015

Guest post from Max Burt

I’m writing principally as founder of WheelEasy; a new charity, launching soon, aiming to make a tangible difference to the leisure time experience of wheelchair users, together with their families and their friends. Its goal is to enable such people to participate more fully in leisure activities together.

 As a wheelchair user myself, I am struck every day by the extent to which people like me are barred from many of the things that others do in their leisure time. It’s a big issue; a massive 85% of our free time is spent on recreation.

We therefore decided to launch WheelEasy after emigrating from the UK and settling here in Australia in 2011. 

But the real impetus behind WheelEasy came from the experiences my wife Justine and I had together. We were both struck by just how many activities we, as a couple, couldn't get involved in together. 

A lack of participation in leisure activities is much more widespread than it may at first appear. It’s not just wheelchair users like me. For every one of these who can't do something, there are always family members and friends who are equally restricted.

The WheelEasy promotional video - soundtrack-less. It was fittingly The Who's "I'm Free" but YouTube was upset

Wheelchair users, together with the people with them, could get out and spend time together a lot more often than they do – the biggest problem is a lack of access information. 

There is no single source of information, when wheelchair users and companions are planning trips. In order to find all the information they might need, they may have to go to loads of different sources.
The WheelEasy app
sneak preview
The WheelEasy website - sneak preview
Click on the picture to visit the site

WheelEasy is launching with the creation of a new information website & app.

This new website & app will contain basic access information about public buildings and transport links & modes. But, WheelEasy also wants to include access information about the great outdoors... 

 Because the outdoors is such an integral aspect of Aussie life, the website & app should at the very heart have information about access to the shoreline and the bush; step-free access to the sand, easier access to the water, beach wheelchair availability, details of step-free national park walks, picnic areas etc, as well as information about easy and pleasant routes through towns and cities.

 This much needed and long overdue information, all in one place, could make a significant difference to so many people's leisure time.

The intention, after securing funding for the development of the website & app, is to "get it out to the wheelchair community" and get everyone to enter their own information that they feel will be of use to others. Hopefully, it will become an essential tool in a wheelchair user’s armoury.

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