Beach Day Out provides accessibility for all

26 September 2023
CQU Physiotherapy students and staff smiling at the camera with an elderly woman in her beach wheelchair.jpg
Physiotherapy student Lesleigh Porter (second from right), fellow students and Lecturer Vanesa Bochkezanian (bottom right) enjoyed being able to assist people enjoying the beach at Emu Park's Beach Day Out

Experiencing the sun, salt and sand is an experience many of us may take for granted, and an experience that some rarely, if ever, get to encounter – that’s why allied health professionals, students and volunteers gathered at the annual Beach Day Out to provide an unforgettable experience for those living with disability.

Coinciding with Disability Action Week, the event took place in Emu Park, Queensland, and aimed to improve community support by providing information, linking to services, and establishing partnerships between agencies, seeing more than 50 support providers in attendance, along with a cohort of 35 CQUniversity Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy students who assisted with providing free, inclusive activities under the guidance of academic staff. 

Second-year Physiotherapy student Lesleigh Porter who attended on the day said the event was a massive undertaking by all involved and was an interactive, memorable day for participants.

“During our volunteer experience at Beach Day Out, it was incredible to be able to work within my student team to assist people in experiencing the ocean, and using the accessible beach wheelchairs was my favourite part of the day,” Ms Porter said.

“It’s amazing to see peoples’ faces light up as they’re able to touch the water and the sand – some for the first time!”

Currently working in aged care and social work alongside her studies whilst also juggling family life as a mother of four, the passionate student has thrived in being able to use her physiotherapy skills to profoundly impact the way people are able to live their lives more fully, and has a heart to serve in regional and rural areas.

“I have returned to community aged care and social work after taking a break with my children, and through the different subjects I’m learning through my degree, I have really been able to apply the practices knowledge in my work – especially with communication as interaction is a key component in this line of work,” Ms Porter said.

“Having lived in regional and rural areas myself, I know the deep need that exists for physiotherapists and so I can see myself contributing to more of this type of community work in my career.

“The Beach Day Out focused on fun, and it was a good reminder for us all to not let a day pass without laughter and games, and making the most out of life,” Ms Porter said.

To find out more about studying Physiotherapy at CQUniversity, please visit our course page.

CQU Physiotherapy students assisting a woman in a beach wheelchair on the shore.jpg
CQU Physiotherapy students playing beach cricket with an elderly woman in her beach wheelchair.jpg