Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dandenongs Sherpa Training

Three TrailRiders and many green, Sherpa Volunteer Program
T shirts. Click pic to read the full article in the Mount Evelyn Mail
Last Saturday, fourteen new Sherpa Volunteers stepped up to the plate at the Olinda Park training session. Up until now, the only three TrailRider pictures I have posted have been from Vancouver, where they are made.

In the words ofJohn Kenwright, Access and Inclusion Coordinator at Parks Victoria 

Grants Picnic Ground in the Dandenong Ranges was the perfect location for its iconic and versatile birdlife as well as the many trails which branch off from there.


Sherbrooke forest is such a beautiful area with the lyrebirds, tall mountain ash trees and so for people with disabilities to be able to share that and see that is very important

Hearing from the passenger for the day (AKA pilot) is even more enticing. Karen Fankhauser, a wheelchair user was the first to be given the opportunity to sit in the new chair and she found it comfortable but gave her the freedom to experience nature.

Freedom ... It means I can actually experience bushwalking and that's something you can't do in a normal chair


For someone with limited mobility or no mobility it's an amazing experience ... instead of just watching from a viewing platform you get to be within the park itself.

Consider Liking the Mail News Group on Facebook. One of their papers, the Mount Evelyn Mail, covered the event, 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Welcome to Sherpa Volunteer Training - video

Josh, my senior nurse son, helped me make this video which is "any place, any time" welcome to the Sherpa Volunteer Program that can be used at the start of any session that Ros, me, Joanne and Rodney cannot make it to.

Most recently that was the session at Olinda Park, in the Dandenongs.

Trainees who are on Facebook might want to join the Private Group that Maggie set up after the first-ever session. Sherpa scuttlebutt should remain amongst sherpas.
It is called Australian Bush Sherpas but you don't need to be Australian to join



Friday, February 2, 2018

Have work, will travel

Yes! I am rejoining the labour force. 

Four places where I can, once again, spend my money

As a Support Officer in the, three Shire wide, Accessible Towns project. Funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) this project sets out to make towns, other than Newstead, places where the disabled, the aged, mothers with twins can move about and do their business.


I will be paid to do what worked so well in Newstead - befriend the shopkeepers and lead them to embracing accessibility in an affordable, friendly way.

Early next Monday I will attend a Training Session in Bendigo. For the rest I can barely wait.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sherpa Volunteer Training in the Dandenongs

Click pic to register
In 2013 I was in the Grampians with two fit, young people and we couldn't go anywhere because there was nowhere to find the other two sherpas. I was sad.

Then John Kenwright (Parks Victoria disability wizard) got his head around the way to organise the, now flourishing, Sherpa Volunteer Program in the Grampians. There have been three training sessions so far (1, 2, 3

Soon - Saturday, 10th February - there will be a session in the Dandenongs, to get a program started there, but this time it will be "front ended" by several, shorter, session that will simply handle the nuts and bolts of becoming a Parks Victoria volunteer of any kind,

That way, when you attend the actual sherpa training, you will already have you volunteer formalities taken care of.

You can register for one of these sessions - on Saturday 3rd February for an hour - here

The session will be at Olinda Parks Victoria Office.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

SES adopt the one wheel approach

Orange and Yellow. Click pic to visit the Castlemaine SES
public (no login needed!) Facebook Page
John Kenwright (Parks Victoria Disability mover and shaker) has been trying to get the SES (State Emergency Services) interested in using the TrailRider to ease their load.

Nurse John (thank you!) told me yesterday that the front page of the "local rag" showed that they had got the "one wheel is better" notion as this Castlemaine SES Facebook post shows:

Last night we trained with our new Mule Litter Wheel, which is designed to carry a stretcher. It is ideal for transporting an injured person across difficult terrain, taking away the manual handling problem of carrying people in a stretcher any real distance across country

I have two questions 

  • Is this statewide and what about other States and Territories?
  • How much does a Mule Litter Wheel cost and where are they made?
Can anyone help?

It is obviously much more fit for purpose, with a stretcher, than a TrailRider would be but at least JK can cross SES off his list!


Please Like the Castlemaine SES on Facebook.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bored on the Board?

First, dear Reader, I should apologise for another post that is "all about me" - but, frankly, I am pumped.

A month or so ago I applied for a seat (along, I now know, with 25 others) on the Board of Castlemaine Health, the Corporate entity that represents this hospital and the Aged Care facilities - one of which is now my home and where I will grow old.

I was invited to a meeting this afternoon with the Chair of that Board and the Chair of the Corporate Medical Compliance committee to be told that I was one of those eight who had not met the requirements to be considered for the Board. My heart sank - it would be the second such failed application in three years.

Instead though, I was honoured and humbled, to be invited to sit on the Corporate Medical Compliance committee. 

I realise, and they realise, that I was never a good fit for the Board. Apart from not meeting the requirements, the legal Corporate responsibilities, and consequent focus on the finances, would have bored me.

Instead I have been offered a seat on a committee that is much more closely involved in the actual, medical, running of the organisation. This is much more my "scene". Along with the top executives in Castlemaine Health this committee seeks to ensure that, for the sake of argument, no babies die here as they have elsewhere in Victoria.

I am grateful to my sister in England who woke me, phoning, so that I could write this post but most of all to Ros, my wife, who has kept me alive to this point at the expense of her own career and who, paradoxically, dropped in a quarter of an hour before the meeting and helped me look good by shaving me (very quickly). Of course appearances do not matter but they do and mine was noted.

In terms of Aged Care it has lifted my spirits. I had been feeling, at 66, that I still had much of my career ahead of me and I had also been sensing the "there, there dear" edge of the home's estimation of a Resident's endeavours. I can hold my head high now in way that I could not before.

Need I say more?

Click pic to view the Parks Victoria Disability Action Plan
The expression on this youngster's face, in a Parks Victoria beach wheelchair says it all, I think. It was taken from the Parks Victoria Disability Action Plan which, I have to admit, I just read as John Kenwright's plans for the next few years.

John is the Access & Inclusion Coordinator at Parks Victoria and that translates into a man who spends a day a week on TrailRider matters and four, thinking about all the access matters that culminate in pictures like this.

Try searching for Kenwright on this blog to see how vital he has been.

Healthy Parks, Healthy People is the tagline that is on the shirt of every Parks Victoria employee. Click on the Like button to encourage them.