Media releases

July 29, 2014

Local lifesaving program set to reduce nationwide drowning toll

The Medibank Community Fund (MCF) has awarded a $40,010 community grant to Port Boulevard Surf Life Saving Club (PBSLSC) in Mandurah, Western Australia.

The grant will enable PBSLSC to join forces with Intework, an existing disability support agency, to develop pathways in rescue and training, which will allow people with disabilities to enjoy and appreciate both the beauty and the danger of the beach.

The grant will also allow PBSLSC to give Intework clients the opportunity to participate in well-established, accredited programs that can be modified to suit their abilities.

The program encourages clients to 'have a go' and develop skills in paddle boarding and surfing, achieve success in Aquatic Rescue and First Aid and give back to their community by participating in beach patrols.

Medibank State Manager for WA, Andy Bray, said the program embraced the Medibank Community Fund's priorities of promoting physical activity and greater community connectedness -the key selection criteria for the MCF grants program.

"Medibank employees on our Regional Council from across WA, expressed overwhelming support for PBSLSC's application because their program aims to reduce the number of drowning's nationwide through an inclusive education program that builds stronger communities", said Mr Bray.

"The Medibank Community Fund grants program supports local, grassroots initiatives that aim to create a lasting and positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of people in the community and Port Boulevard Surf Life Saving Club and its rescue and training program are doing just that".

Port Boulevard Surf Life Saving Club President,
Sarah Hull, said the program aims to encourage disabled people to get involved in open water based physical activity, establish relationships with the community and reduce the number of drowning deaths in Australia.

"Through our partnership with Intework, we are giving people with disabilities a permanent residence at our club where they can learn new skills, be physically active in a medium they haven't had access to before and be part of the lifesaving community in Mandurah ," said Ms Hull.

"At the core of this initiative is the fact that drowning claims the lives of hundreds of Australians every year. We know that rescue and training programs which up skill and engage the community can be the difference between life and death and play a dramatic role in reducing drowning deaths".

Port Boulevard Surf Life Saving Club is one of 42 recipients chosen from more than 900 applications across Australia and New Zealand to receive a 2014 Medibank Community Fund grant.

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