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Realistic Race opens eyes to disabilities

CEO on mobility scooter

Monday 19 March 2018

Staff and Councillors at Mount Alexander Shire gained a greater awareness and understanding of disability by participating in the Realistic Race in Castlemaine recently.

Organised by Mount Alexander Shire Disability Advocacy Group (MASDAG), the Realistic Race enabled participants to experience various disabilities whilst they undertook a series of interactive challenges.

People carried out activities using a wheelchair, mobility scooter, mobility walking aid, blindfold and white cane, or with voices playing through headphones.

The race provided an insight into the barriers to access and inclusion people with disability face within the community, buildings and environment in and around central Castlemaine.

Mayor Bronwen Machin said she found the experience to be invaluable.

“I felt very vulnerable when wearing a blindfold and having to rely on other people. Yet when tootling along on the electric scooter I felt very independent until I came to an obstruction that made me rethink how I got from place to place and how I got to even basic things such as toilets,” said Cr Machin.

“I realised that people with disabilities face many different types of obstacles and must have amazing creativity and problem solving skills.

“It also made me realise that we can use those skills to improve access to Council facilities and services, not just for those with disabilities but for all people. Half-hearted attempts are just not good enough,” she said.

MASDAG Chairperson Lorraine Le Plastrier said the training was a bridge between Council and people living with a disability.

“The event helps people to recognise and understand the difficulties that we encounter every day,” said Ms Le Plastrier.

“The positive feedback from the Realistic Race really boosts our spirit and gives us the courage to go on. It demonstrates the commitment and willingness of MASDAG members to look at a problem and seek ways to solve it.”

MASDAG is an independent, community-based organisation auspiced by the Castlemaine Community House. MASDAG aims to facilitate community education, systemic change and improved access to the built environment, businesses, clubs and community events.

The ‘Race’ in Realistic Race stands for ‘Real Access Creates Equality’. To learn more about the Realistic Race visit www.realisticrace.com.au.

Image: Council CEO Darren Fuzzard leads the way in the Realistic Race with colleagues Hayley Cooper and Courtney Yam. Photo by Gary Chapman of Chapman's of Castlemaine.

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