Events can provide enjoyable moments and life-long memories, and our service users are in agreement. Throughout the busy start to 2022, we have been there at public transport hubs and major events, ensuring our service users feel supported and comfortable to get to – and around – events.
A number of our service users are repeat visitors to Melbourne and the array of fabulous events on offer in our city. One couple from Northern NSW have travelled to the Australian Open a number of times over the years. We provide them with assistance by picking them up at the train station and taking them to Melbourne Park.
We also provide them with a wheelchair to use at the event. At the end of the day, Travellers Aid volunteers pick up these enthusiastic tennis fans and take them to the taxi rank to return to their accommodation. Previously, this couple would hire a wheelchair in Melbourne, but had found it hard to fold and fit it into the taxi. The couple told our staff that they couldn’t continue making the trip without the help of Travellers Aid, and the help has meant less stress and more enjoyment for them.
They feel confident knowing they can call Travellers Aid at any time, and we are there to assist.
Moomba saw the launch of the City of Melbourne’s “Hidden Disabilities Sunflower” scheme, in partnership with Travellers Aid. People with a hidden disability were given free-of-charge, wearable products such as lanyards, pins, stickers and wristbands, all embellished with a sunflower to signal they may require assistance at events, businesses and on public transport. This global initiative ensures people with hidden disabilities can signal in a discreet way that they may require assistance.
Hidden disabilities include a range of conditions such as poor personal mobility, mental health struggles, learning difficulties as well as speech, hearing and visual impairments. They can also include respiratory and chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, chronic pain and sleep disorders that significantly impact day-to-day life experiences.
Moomba was the launch event for the City of Melbourne’s Hidden Disabilities initiative and Travellers Aid hosted a quiet space in a marquee which included beanbags, noise cancelling headphones and fidget toys. One woman, experiencing a panic attack, found relief in using the headphones and fidget toys provided, as well as using her own essential oils. One of our volunteers sat with her until she was calm enough to call her friends to come and meet her. As she left our calm space, she commented how lucky it was for her that we were there.
Hidden Disability Sunflower lanyards are now available at Travellers Aid sites.
Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (MIFGS)
“ Was a wonderful service. Will book again online. Helped my elderly mother really enjoy the day.
“ Was the first time I have been able to leave my home in 2 years. Very happy thank you.
“ Wouldn’t have been able to do the flower show without your assistance. & especially helping us get back to the car at the end of the when we were very tired. Thank you.
“ The accessibility is great this year! Dylan Alcott creating an accessible space and having you here makes the day really enjoyable for everyone.
“ This is my second time out since COVID started! Really excited to see the gardens, I love them and I’ve missed them.