Community fundraising efforts provide liberty

Local resident and motoring enthusiast Stephen Whittam has combined with Redland City Council, Variety Queensland and Ormiston College to add fun to the lives of disabled kids in the Redlands.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Mr Whittam was driving a fund raising effort with Ormiston College to help raise $25,000 for a Liberty Swing to be installed at Raby Bay Foreshore Park.

“This is a fantastic initiative that will bring a smile to the faces of kids with a disability within the Redlands, as well as their families,” she said.

“In addition to providing a location for the new Liberty Swing, Council will also undertake $62,000 of other upgrades of the park, including improving disability access to toilets. 

“We will also provide new disability car parking and install new footpaths and fencing around the Liberty Swing.

“The Raby Bay Foreshore Park is a fantastic area with a stunning view, so Council is pleased to be able to support this initiative and help provide an all abilities area for children to enjoy.”

The Liberty Swing allows children in wheelchairs or afflicted by a physical impairment the chance to enjoy the exhilaration of swinging.

Mr Whittman, who is a long-term participant in the XXX Gold Variety Variety Bash and describes himself as a motoring enthusiast, came up with the idea of raising money for the Liberty Swing to give something back to the community.

“I have taken part in the Bash for the past five years and Variety Queensland have installed over 40 Liberty Swings across Queensland, so I really wanted to help out closer to home and this is a great way to do it,” he said.

“This is 100 per cent a local effort. We have some great long term corpoarte sponsors, and this year to raise such a large amount, I thought it would be good for a local school to get behind the cause and Ormiston College were more than happy to assist through their Social Justice committee.

Mr Whittam said the XXXX Gold Variety Bash was a great way to provide for kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.

“Variety Queensland does such a great job and when we are on the Bash we actually see the work they do with our special kids, so this is a great opportunity to bring that into the Redlands,” he said.

“There are no losers in this.  As a car lover I get to drive in the Bash, kids who really need it get help and the community gets to be involved and support the cause – everyone’s a winner,” he said.

Ormiston College Principal Brett Webster said the students were excited about the fundraising effort.

“The students of Ormiston College are very keen to be a part of this wonderful initiative that will see local children who are in a wheelchair experience the joy of a swing,” he said.

The Liberty Swing and Raby Bay Foreshore Park upgrade are expected to be opened in August.