First Mobi-Mat unveiled at Public Beach

| 30/05/2018
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Austin Harris, Parker Tibbetts and Susie Bodden on the Mobi-Mat

(CNS Local Life): Rotary Central, in partnership with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, dedicated a plaque commemorating the Caribbean’s first Mobi-Mat, which enables access for all, at Cayman Islands Public Beach. “I am delighted that during my year as president of Rotary Central that we were able to support the Disabilities Council to bring the first Mobi-Mat to the Caribbean,” said Susie Bodden, who is also executive leader of the Special Needs Foundation Cayman.

“It will have a lasting impact on the special needs community and I hope that many members of the community-at-large will also benefit greatly from it, and we certainly hope that many more mats will be purchased as a result,” she added.

The ceremony, held Saturday, 19 May, was attended by the Acting Minister of Community Affairs Austin Harris; Acting Governor Franz Manderson; Minister of Commerce, Investment and Planning Joey Hew; Councillor Barbara Conolly; Mobi-Mat sponsors; council members; and friends, stated a press release.

“This mat is just one of the ways we in the Cayman Islands are making life easier for our residents and visitors who have mobility limitations,” said Harris. “We live on a beautiful island surrounded by a beautiful sea. It is only right that everyone should have access to our beaches and water. Now that the council, with the help of government, Rotary and the private sector, has put the wheels in motion, it is my hope that others will see the benefit of this Mobi-Mat and take the necessary steps to bring even more of these facilities to other public beaches on our Islands.”

He congratulated and thanked everyone who had a role in the installation of the Caribbean’s first Mobi-Mat. “Your contribution is making life better for those with mobility challenges by giving them an even higher level of independence and even more inclusion by society,” he said.

CNS Local Life

(L-R) Magda Embury and Susie Bodden unveil the Mobi-Mat plaque

Council chairperson, Magda Embury, highlighted Rotary Central’s role as the major donor/coordinator in ordering and shipping the mat. She also outlined the efforts of volunteers, including council member Kimberly Voaden who was essential in securing multi-ministry approvals for the mobility-friendly runner.

Embury also acknowledged the mat’s other sponsors: Morne Botes, Shani Petzer, Kim Lund, Marco Archer and Tammy Archer, and the MS Foundation of the Cayman Islands. She credited those individuals and entities with expanding accessibility to Cayman’s famous Seven Mile Beach for persons with disabilities and said that the council and the government had taken an important step towards achieving its mandates under the Disabilities Law.

Alyssa Christian spoke on behalf of the MS Foundation, noting that the mat will also be used by persons with “invisible disabilities” such as multiple sclerosis. Embury and Bodden then unveiled the Mobi-Mat commemorative plaque; an etched granite tablet depicting an inclusive and accessible beach setting and marking the mat’s official date of siting.

With engraving donated by Marvin Hurlston of George Town Crafts, the plaque was set in an existing, freshly painted mounting by the Public Works Department.

The ceremony closed with an official ribbon cutting and a few words from council members, Keith “Parker” Tibbetts and Voaden.

“This mat has been a real labour of love; considering all the many government, charitable, and private sector entities and organisations which assisted in some way, it’s a fantastic example of the community betterment that can be achieved when we all work together,” Tibbetts said.

“It’s such a simple pathway with such a broad impact – the Mobi-Mat will make accessing the ocean so much easier for a wide range of people,” added Voaden. “The mat is also great for persons with sensory processing disorders, who may not like the feeling of sand on their feet and its relatively firmer surface is preferable for persons with balance impairment.”

The council encouraged private sector support for installing Mobi-Mats on various hotel and resort beaches to increase accessibility throughout the Cayman Islands, but noted that it was important to ensure that the location itself was accessible.

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Category: Community

Comments (2)

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  1. Tracy Amor says:

    Can you please tell me where this mat is located?

  2. Morne Botes says:

    Great job by all. GO have a look at Public Beach. It works great and looks great.