Participation in recreational activities gives meaning to the lives of people of all ages. For 3.4 million Australians – some 25-30% of our population – recreational fishing is a favoured activity. Like many recreational activities, the benefits of fishing are both psychological and physiological, providing the participant with the opportunity to rest, relax, enjoy nature and socialise in the outdoors. For people with a disability, it is especially important that their disability does not stop them from participating in their favourite recreational activities. TADVIC Cooperative, which custom makes equipment for people with disabilities, successfully applied to the Trust for a grant of $7,500 to develop 10 prototypes of a one-handed fishing kit.
Over the years, TADVIC, through its technical volunteers, have assisted many people with disabilities to continue fishing with a variety of different equipment pieces. Over half of these keen fishing fans have the use of only one arm through injury or illness, which makes fishing with conventional gear impossible. However, developing a device from scratch each time is not an effective use of a volunteer’s time. The grant will enable TADVIC to set up a team of volunteers to work with a therapist to develop standardised prototypes of one-armed fishing kits which can be adapted to meet individual needs.
There are several tasks in the process of fishing which are impossible for someone with the use of only one arm to perform unaided including: holding the rod, threading and tying the fishing hook to the line, attaching bait, reeling in and casting out the line, and removing the hook from the fish. The kit will provide the means for the person to carry out these tasks alone. Ten prototypes will be stored with TADVIC’s central office and will be available for adaptation to meet a person’s individual needs if required.