Community effort a bouncing success 

3 December 2019|Community News| Off Comments off on Community effort a bouncing success |

BOUNCING on a trampoline is one of the few joys for 17-year-old Eliza King.

The young Glenorchy resident has Spastic Quadraplegia, Cerebral Palsy, Dystonia, Ataxia and Autism and relies on the use of a wheelchair for mobility.

Living at home with her mother Luisa Pollard, Eliza has always enjoyed listening to music and reading her books on her trampoline.

“Eliza has always loved trampolines, but as she has gotten older, lifting her onto one has become impossible,” Ms Pollard said.

“Finding an outdoor place for her to play and exercise has been getting harder.”

Empathising with Eliza’s cause, four Tasmanian organisations – Variety the Children’s Charity Tasmania, Rotary Club of Claremont, Hazell Brothers and Komatsu – banded together to grant her a much-needed trampoline, and a way to access it.

Ms Pollard sought funding from Variety through an equipment grant.

But as Variety is a self-funded charity that receives no government support, Variety Tasmania chief executive officer Mohammad Aldergham said it was constantly challenged by how much it could do to give children a fair go, particularly for those who fell through the gaps of the system.

“House modification is not something we do due to the high costs involved, which restrict our ability to help as many children as we would want to,” he said.

“We realised that in order to grant Eliza a trampoline to suit her needs, we needed assistance due to the high cost of installation.

“We reached out to our friends at the Rotary Club of Claremont, who were quick to jump into action.

“They conducted a site inspection, reached out to their network of amazing local businesses and managed the project from start to finish.”

The project was accomplished through the generous support of Hazell Brothers, which offered its skilled workers and material at no cost, as well as Komatsu which lent its earthmoving equipment to get the job done.

The project involved creating a pathway for Eliza’s wheelchair to take her up a slant from the patio to the top of the trampoline, which is installed against a retaining wall in the backyard.

The trampoline itself had to be secured to the ground and installed with safety features like an enclosure net.

Rotary Club of Claremont community services director Greg Saunders said the four organisations came together to see the project through from start to finish.

“The effort everybody has put in has brought so much enjoyment to a young lady and it is one of the most satisfying projects that we have collectively been involved in,” he said.

“Eliza and Luisa’s reactions were ones of gratefulness and happiness.

“For Eliza, being able to use her trampoline for many different uses, including laying on it listening to her music and reading her books, had been taken away from her and was not possible again until we came up with our new design plan.

“You only need to see the look on Eliza’s face and watch her on the trampoline to understand the enhanced enjoyment of life that she now has.

“Rotary is known worldwide for the things that we participate in, but it is also important for Rotary – and our club in particular – to do things in our community to look after the little guys that need looking after.

“This project is a fantastic example of that.”

Ms Pollard said Eliza couldn’t wait to try out the new trampoline and “squealed with delight” when she took to it.

“It was such a lovely sight and now that the weather’s better, she will be outside every day,” she said.

“I can’t thank these teams enough.”

Caption: From left, Scott Coad from Hazell Bros, Tim and Craig from Valhalla Concreting, Eliza King, Luisa Pollard and Greg Saunders from the Rotary Club of Claremont.

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