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Published: 2015-11-26 00:00:00

Hamilton’s largest ever Have A Go Day is being held next week to promote a range of disabled-friendly products and services, and will include a local celebrity mobility scooter race in the CBD.

It is the fourth year Waikato Regional Council and CCS Disability Action have run Have a Go Day on the buses, and the second year they will be joined by Hamilton City Council and Life Unlimited in Civic Square on Thursday, 3 December, between 11am and 2pm.

It’s timed to coincide with International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a global event to celebrate disability and educate the public.

Two buses will be on site for people to get on and off, with a disability expo showcasing what’s on offer from more than 10 local organisations to help people live the life they choose.

“This event provides a way for people with disabilities to have a go at getting on and off a bus, and getting timetable, route and ticket information," says Andrew Wilson, from the regional council.

“For some people, buses provide independence and a primary means of transport that’s absolutely vital to their quality of life. We’re really proud of our bus network in the Waikato, especially as all of our buses are completely accessible for wheelchairs, walkers and people with mobility impairments,” said Mr Wilson.

CCS Disability Action’s team said it’s really proud and excited to be part of the day.  “As an organisation which has been around for 80 years we’ve seen huge changes in the ways communities support and include disabled people. But we want to see even more inclusion. We hope as many people as possible will come along and get into the spirit of the event,” said Bill Baker, acting regional manager.

William Hughes, Life Unlimited’s general manager of enterprise, added: “This is a fun opportunity for everyone in the community to see the options available for people living with a disability – whether it’s yourself or a family member who’s looking for some extra support.  

“This year, Life Unlimited is excited to have the inventor of the hands-free Ogo wheelchair, Kevin Hallsall, at the event, along with his innovative product that’s been creating an international buzz. As well as the expo, we’ve got a programme of entertainment – including a mobility scooter race with local celebrities competing at 12pm. Anyone coming along can also ‘have a go’ at driving a mobility scooter through a skills course,” Mr Hughes said.

Life Unlimited, a charitable trust which supports people with disabilities, will have its Store staff at the event to demonstrate its mobility products and highlight its free disability information and advisory service. They will also be drawing the winner of it’s Have a Go Day mobility scooter competition at the event. One lucky entrant will win an Invacare scooter worth $3650.

“Hamilton City Council strives to make Hamilton a disabled-friendly city, and our involvement in Have A Go Day reflects that,” said Hamilton City Council disability advisor, Judy Small.

“Working alongside our partners Life Unlimited, Waikato Regional Council and CCS Disability Action enables us to raise awareness and understanding of the challenges disabled members of our community face, and also present some of the initiatives and innovations which can ensure they maintain a good quality of life.

“Have A Go Day brings those challenges and innovations into the central city for a few hours, and gives Hamilton people the chance to consider how they might manage with a disability, as well as a time to appreciate how organisations work together to respond to the needs of the disability community,” she said.

To find out more about the day, visit www.busit.co.nz or call the 24-hour helpline on 0800 4 BUSLINE (0800 4 2875463).