Wheelchair friendly playground open at Joburg Zoo. 

Redefine Properties partnered with Johannesburg City Parks to build the wheelchair friendly playground. “Children are the future of South Africa and this is only the beginning for us,” said Marc Wainer, CEO of Redefine Properties. “We will be monitoring the playground and see what is used the most and what isn’t used. From there on, we will then look at expanding the playground, as well as setting up more playgrounds in KZN and the Western Cape regions,” he added. Redefine Properties has invested over R1.25 million into this playground. The company will continue to look after it for the next three years, ensuring it stays in top condition. The wheelchair-friendly swings are easy to operate: simply unclip and open the box-swing’s back end, wheel your chair in and swing away!

Fire causes extensive damage at Mandeville Sports Club

A fire broke out at the Mandeville Sports and Social Club in Kensington around 02h00 on Sunday 28 July. “Two fire trucks quickly arrived at the scene but both of them had no water. It was only thanks to the quick action of Mandeville staff that the inside of the club was only slightly damaged,” said Manager Chris Flanders.

“While we are very thankful that no-one was badly injured the damage is extensive and has been estimated at about R750 000,” said Chairman Leon Fleiser.

Meanwhile, renovations are in full swing and the repairs to the windows and inside the clubhouse have nearly been completed. “We are in the process of looking at several quotes to re-build the outside area – needless to say it will not be thatch,” stated Chris.
The Fire Department’s report concluded that the cause of the fire could not be identified.

Fun walk for children with disabilities

Nappy Run is a month-long national awareness and donation-driven campaign throughout October. It culminates in an official 5km fun run event at Joburg Zoo on Sunday 3 November 2013, the day after National Children’s Day. Anyone can join in the fun whether you walk, run, stroll or roll. Entry is R50 and all proceeds will be used to purchase nappies that will be distributed to care centres across the country to provide the much-needed incontinence care and comfort for children with disabilities.
For more information or to find out how to get involved in your own province.

Wheelchair Wednesday gets Bay residents mobile

One hundred mobility-impaired Nelson Mandela Bay residents received brand new wheelchairs at the official handover ceremony for the SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday initiative, which took place at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Speaking at the event, the Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD) chairman, Garth van Niekerk reminded the assembled guests what the wheelchairs meant to their recipients. “Don’t feel sorry for these people. They are not stuck in wheelchairs – they are stuck without them,” he said. SPAR’s Eastern Cape marketing manager, Abri Swart said the retail chain had jumped at the opportunity to assume the title sponsorship for such a worthy cause this year. With some 75 000 metro residents classified as people with disabilities, Swart said they formed a significant part of the retailer’s customer base. “Our involvement in this initiative has really opened our eyes to the needs of people with disabilities. SPAR Eastern Cape continually strives to improve their shopping experience in each of our stores.” In addition to the wheelchairs, which were supplied by the Wheelchair Foundation in the United States, the five-week fundraising and awareness campaign also grossed over R400 000 for the APD in the metro. According to the association’s executive director, Brian Bezuidenhout, the proceeds would be channelled towards the operating costs of the organisation’s training and job creation workshops. Bezuidenhout said they employed 130 people with disabilities, teaching them marketable skills such as sewing, embroidery and screen-printing. The APD workshops also handle a number of corporate contracts, such as the upholstery work for a local bus company, as well as the production of corporate clothing and uniforms for various schools. Now in its second year, the SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday initiative saw almost 200 able-bodied participants experiencing the accessibility challenges that people in wheelchairs face in going about their daily business. Every Wednesday throughout May, representatives of participating companies spent four hours in a wheelchair, with their corporate employers donating funds for the privilege of doing so.

CAPTION: One hundred Nelson Mandela Bay residents received brand-new wheelchairs as part of the SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday campaign. Pictured here at the handover ceremony are (from left): SPAR’s Anton Gerber, Wendy Westraadt and Abri Swart with four of the beneficiaries.

SANRA Congress 2013: Partnerships in Neurorehabilitation

The South African Neurological Rehabilitation Association (SANRA) Congress 2013 was held at the Hilton Hotel, Sandton from the 28th to 30th August. More than 180 delegates, with representatives from as far afield as Namibia and Zimbabwe, attended the event. Delegates from the fields of Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy, Nursing and Biokinetics joined the interesting discussions. A number of delegates also represented the Road Accident Fund, as well as Discovery Health, which SANRA feels is an important step in fostering relationships between health professionals and funders.

International speakers included Professor Louise Ada, Professor of Neurological Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney. Her engaging presentations covered the topic of mobility after stroke. Professor Linda Worrall, Speech Pathologist and Co-Director of the Centre for Communication Disability Centre at the University of Queensland presented the audience with some unique ideas for the rehabilitation of communication following a stroke. Stephanie Tempest, an Occupational Therapist from Brunel University, London, offered some challenging concepts on the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) in a multidisciplinary setting, as well as on the rehabilitation of Apraxia. Dr Giles Yeates, Clinical Neuropsychologist from Buckinghamshire, working in the NHS Trust, engrossed the audience with the emotional aspects of therapy with couples following brain injury and stroke.

The local invited speakers included Professor Alan Bryer, a Neurologist from the University of Cape Town, who addressed the delegates on the future of multidisciplinary stroke rehabilitation in South Africa and Dr Ryan Fuller, Psychogeriatrician from MemoryCare Johannesburg, covered the topic of memory loss in older people.

SANRA would like to thank its sponsors and exhibitors for their support in ensuring a successful conference. The next congress will take place in 2015.