Ausnew Home Care | Fishability helps people with disabilities beat challenges, make friends and have fun while casting out a line

Fishability helps people with disabilities beat challenges, make friends and have fun while casting out a line

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Jackson springs from his camping chair like he's just won a game of bingo.

"Oh yes, I've done it, I've got a fish," he says.

Cheers erupt down the jetty as news of his lucky catch spreads.

His grin stretches from ear to ear and his happiness is contagious.

It's hard not to share his joy.

The fishing group embracing anglers of all abilities

Each week, dozens of people with disabilities attend weekly Fishability catch-ups in Albany on Western Australia's south coast.

Many have overcome challenges and aren't afraid to have a go and get out of their comfort zones.

a fish, chopping bait and bouy collage
The program runs weekly on the Albany jetty.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

Everyone welcome

Evelyn is one of the participants and is happy to share her tips.

"You need a rod first and bait, put it on line and cast out," she says.

All of the equipment is provided so anyone can join in.

She says her brother Clayton loves deep-sea fishing and taught her how to fish.

A woman wearing a purple shirt fishing off a jetty.
Evelyn casts a rod from the jetty.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

Another member, Liam, says he cherishes the relationships he's made through the program.

So what does he like most?

"Meeting everyone and meeting new people and saying hello and making friends with everyone," Liam says.

He says he caught his biggest bag of fish "four Fridays ago" but had to put them back as the program is a catch-and-release one.

Milan says it doesn't matter if people catch a fish or not and that the most important thing is enjoying the good company and nice weather.

A young man wearing a baseball cap and holding a fishing line gives a 'thumbs up' to the camera.
Liam says he loves making new friends through the fishing program.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

Volunteers needed

The program is able to operate thanks to volunteers like Timothy, who knows what it feels like to live with a disability.

"Why is it important to me? Well, I have a heart condition and went to a special school, and I never had anything like this when I was younger," he says.

A man stands on a wharf with his crossed arms.
Timothy says visibility is important for people with disabilities.(ABC News: Briana Fiore)

"And knowing we've got this today, leading them, to talk to them, help them lead on with their lives, share that with them — they can do anything they want."

But he says more volunteers are needed at Fishability spots around the state to help keep the program thriving.

"We need heaps more because we have 70 to 80 [participants]," he said.


Source: ABC

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