Moreton Bay Able Anglers have been contacting councillors, mayors and local members of parliament for the past few months, in fact, closer to 12 months with a very simple goal in mind.
Our goal has been to increase the participation levels in our Disability and Mental Illness programs, to do this, we need a understanding by the Government that a lot of work is needed to have more inclusion in the local areas.
Due to safety, we are unable to utilise rock walls and many land based locations such as mud patches or concrete slabs on the side of a creek, river or passage, this is unsafe for people with not only mobility issues but in some cases, mental illnesses also.
We have been attempting to discuss these issues with many decision makers. As the largest Disability and Mental Illness fishing group in South-East Queensland, we have provided our fishing tuition and group services to over 1,500 participants in under 18 months.
While those statistics are great, it also causes problems for finding suitable locations and platforms. For example;
Bribie Island – 2 Platforms
Redcliffe Peninsula – 6 platforms
Redlands – 4 Platforms
This is just the basics of the areas, recently we have been in discussions with Sunfish and Karl Winchester and Koliana Winchester who have been very willing to discuss the need for more platforms and fishing locations that are suitably placed for access, mobility and weather.
There is a business in the northern part of Queensland who provides sailing services primarily to people with PTSD and Domestic Violence, however, he is met with resistance from local members in his area also.
We do have a question, if community groups, community business and the likes such as ours, are advocating and doing much of the research and planning, why is this still too hard for the Government to accept that the community needs their help?
It is almost like, and definitely feels like, the Government does not care, it is a belief the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) was introduced only as a pacifier not as a true solution to a growing problem.
Moreton Bay Able Anglers is not registered as a Not-For-Profit, we are a Community Business or otherwise referred to as a Social Business. We do not pay staff however, we do have expenses, insurances, operating costs etc but we have on several occasions asked local members for assistance with Grants and Assistance to ensure the longevity of our service.
Receiving Grants or Financial Assistance would allow us to provide more services to more participants having a much greater impact on the community that we already do.
Other than verbal recognitions such as “we like what you are doing” or “what a great thing you do for the community”, those words do not assist the community, they do not provide more inclusion nor do they help anyone.
If these members truly believed their words, they would, as they say “put their money where there mouth is” because it is concepts such as our Fishing Tuition and Fishing Groups that promote a healthy mind, active mind and mental illness assistance to every participant we have attend our sessions.
After all, Moreton Bay Able Anglers was incepted primarily due to it being a recovery method for me having gone through a serious case of Clinical Depression. We know this program works, we know it helps each and every participant we include.
So, our big call is simple, to the members of parliament who believe in Social Inclusion and Community Participation and who believe in helping the community members who could do with assistance, let’s talk about inclusion, let’s talk about what is needed and together, let us promote active minds, active bodies and social inclusion.