Charlotte Pawson: Parafed Canterbury
Charlotte and ParaFed help children be their own heroes
Operating since 1967, ParaFed Canterbury is a not-for-profit organisation, focusing on people with physical or visual impairments. They offer a variety of programmes and services to their members including Para sports programmes, adaptive equipment, sports wheelchairs and children’s after-school programmes. In addition, they offer a number of non-sports based programmes such as hydrotherapy pool sessions and a taxi fare discounts programme.
The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled ParaFed Canterbury to execute two different programs targeted to children and their families.
$5,000 was put towards the weekly Junior Sports Programmes, which are attended by approximately 30 children (5-15yr olds) with physical disabilites and offer a variety of different sports and activities each week. This money went towards the cost of running the sessions (such as venue hire, adaptive equipment and coaches) and enabled us to keep costs for participants to a minimum.
The second $5,000 was put towards the ParaFed Canterbury Junior Team that travelled to Auckland to compete at the Hallberg Junior Disability Games in October 2018. The team consisted of 24 athletes and staff, and this money contributed towards the costs of flights, accommodation, entry fees, team uniform and the team's training sessions leading up to the event.
"Thanks to the support of the Westfield Local Heroes Grant, last year our Junior Sports Programmes offered our young members a variety of new and exciting sports and activities that many participants have never had the opportunity to experience. These included indoor rock climbing, table tennis, canoeing on the Avon River, gymnastics, laser tag and mini golf. One of the many highlights was a 10-sessions "learn to swim" programme which was run during the winter months which was led by Charlotte (who is also a qualified swim teacher). The swimming lessons taught our young members water confidence and basic swimming skills, and it was exciting to see the improvement that was made by all members over the 10 sessions.
There has also been an increased awareness in the community of ParaFed Canterbury programmes. Through the initial "voting" campaign, we were able to promote Westfield and ParaFed Canterbury far and wide, with lots of likes and shares on our Facebook. It was amazing to hear about the interest and support we received from people not normally connected with our organisation.
The award presentation held at the Westfield Riccarton Mall was also a great opportunity to promote our name in the wider community, along with all the extra advertising done by Westfield." - Hadleigh Pierson, New Zealand Paralympian
Read about Westfield Riccarton's other Local Heroes