A unique festival that embraces diversity and people with mixed abilities is coming to the Eurobodalla Shire this month.
The All Abilities Festival is one of many community events scheduled to be held until March 2023, and is supported by funding from the NSW Government’s Reconnecting Regional NSW Community Events Program.
The funding includes a grant of almost $300,000 to go towards supporting existing and inaugural community events around the Eurobodalla.
Taking place on 30 November, the festival invites people of all abilities to come along with their family members, friends and support staff to take part in various interactive activities involving arts, performance, fitness, and wellbeing.
Eurobodalla Council community development coordinator Rhonnie South said the festival was an inclusive event that highlighted the diversity that made up the community.
“This event will provide an opportunity for community engagement and connection, with a particular focus on and appeal to individuals with disability and the target groups, providing them with access to engaging, supportive, fun and developmental activities, as well as stalls to provide information, advice and assistance,” Ms South said.
“Local music, entertainment, food and beverages will be provided by people with disability, to celebrate their skills, contribution and connection to our Eurobodalla community, therefore making visible their aspirations and abilities.”
The All Abilities Festival will host events across multiple venues in Narooma, including the Narooma Kinema, Odd Bods Gym, Bend and Sip Bar, and the CWA (Country Women’s Association) hall.
Each of the spaces will offer a different engagement experience.
Ms South said the festival was about socially connecting and engaging people and celebrating the range of abilities, interests, opportunities and support available across the Eurobodalla.
“The CWA hall will host a creative arts hub with an arts arcade along the wall connecting to Bend and Sip,” she said.
“At Bend and Sip, there will be Eurobodalla Stepping Stone hospitality trainees serving a tasty lunch.
“Then, upstairs in the gym, trainers will provide hands-on equipment demos as well as Pilates, chair yoga and Zumba classes.”
Ms South said there would also be a quiet space for storytelling and a panel discussion in the Kinema featuring local people with disabilities.
To follow is a performance by the Slightly Bent Choir and an impromptu drama workshop.
There will also be more than 15 stalls set up around Narooma that showcase what support services are available in the town.
These include Life Without Barriers, Involve Eurobodalla, Uniting, Roundsquared and Withnotfor, Yumaro, Disability Trust, Services NSW, nbn Hub, Muddy Puddles, Katungal, Eurobodalla Stepping Stones, Training Services NSW, NSW TAFE, Australian Centre for Disability Law, Eurobodalla Health and Fitness, Optimum Health, Momentum Sports and Rehabilitation, and Break Away Camping.
“If the event is successful, we will aim to continue hosting it either annually or biannually,” Ms South said.
“We will gain feedback from participants that can support additional service offerings.”
Ms South encouraged everyone to come and experience the activities taking place at the festival.
“I can’t wait to see lots of happy smiling faces, where people won’t want to go home because they’re having such a nice time feeling empowered, engaged and connected,” she said.
“The event offers an opportunity for formal and informal networking, will spotlight the unique social make-up of the community I call home, and allow me to meet and spend time with people in fun, engaging and possibly challenging activities outside of my normal network.
“It’s also an opportunity to increase my personal community, as well as help others connect and hopefully make their day brighter.”
The festival will be held on Wednesday, 30 November, from 10 am to 3:30 pm.
To attend and receive your complimentary lunch at the festival, register here.