Several milestones were achieved when the annual SPAR Wheelchair Wednesday campaign was rolled out for the eighth year in Nelson Mandela Bay in August.
Leading the way was the primary objective of hitting the 1 000-mark in respect of wheelchairs donated to those in need since the project’s inception in 2012.
Furthermore, this year saw a new record of 180 wheelchairs donated from the funds raised by the campaign, compared to a total of 30 chairs contributed in the inaugural year.
Managed by the Association for Persons with Disabilities Nelson Mandela Bay (APD) and supported by SPAR Eastern Cape, each Wednesday in August volunteers are confined to a wheelchair for four hours to experience what those with mobility difficulties confront every day.
The project also raises awareness of the need for businesses in the metro and beyond to ensure their facilities provide easy access for those in wheelchairs.
SPAR EC sponsorship and events manager Alan Stapleton says they are delighted to have achieved their objectives.
“We definitely continued to make an impact on those who have mobility challenges,” he says.
“A total of 180 people being freed to mobility is heart-warming and then hitting the 1 000 wheelchairs donated was also significant.”
In addition, there were significant donations to the campaign, bringing the total amount that has been raised since 2012 to R2.8-million. This is used to assist job creation at the APD organisation in North End.
Stapleton says they appreciate the support given to Wheelchair Wednesday by corporates and local celebrities, while they will continue the drive to include more schools next year.
After Collegiate Girls’ High participated last year, this time pupils from Grey High, Lawson Brown and Pearson also spent time in a wheelchair during the campaign.
“It was very special to have the schools involved because they are tomorrow’s decision-makers,” says Stapleton.