I was extremely impressed by my recent first visit to Sargood on Collaroy. The thought put into the design and facilities is just amazing; it is unlike anywhere else I have visited. It is so spacious and very easy to get around in a wheelchair – it certainly exceeded my expectations. When I arrived, I just parked in the underground carpark, came up the lift and was invited in for happy hour drinks and nibbles!
Sargood is truly inclusive – you don’t have to feel different because you have a disability. Not only that, but the local area was extremely accommodating, welcoming and accessible too. We went to eat out in Collaroy several times; all the cafes and restaurants were within pushing distance from Sargood, and it was just a pleasure to be there, without all the stress and hassle that wheelchair access sometimes creates.
I travel a lot for work and I find accessible accommodation is typically very inconsistent from one place to the next. This makes it extremely difficult and stressful to organise a trip with any certainty. It requires extensive planning and research, and many phone calls as there often isn’t enough information on the website. Some hotels will advertise that they are accessible but then they won’t even have the basics. For example, there may not be a shower chair, spaces will be too narrow for a wheelchair or essential items will be placed up high. I think hotels assume you will be travelling with an able-bodied person, or perhaps they just don’t know what is needed.
This is why Sargood is such a breath of fresh air. When you book, you just know your needs are going to be catered for. The website is extensive and clear, with loads of pictures, so it’s easy to access all the information you need to know and plan appropriately. This takes so much of the stress out of travelling – not having to do all that research and think of everything. And of course, everything is provided so you don’t have to bring so much stuff!
The best part of my stay at Sargood was catching up with friends as well as trying something new – surfing! This definitely took me out of my comfort zone. I was very anxious, partly because I have bad shoulders and didn’t want to injure myself. But I had faith in the staff – they know what they are doing so I didn’t back out! We caught two waves and it was just awesome to feel that rush and know I was out there surfing.
I spent a lot of time with my friend Nick and his family; we all had a wonderful time, including their children who loved being by the beach and playing the virtual reality games.
The most important thing for me is my independence which I treasure just so much, as do most people with a spinal cord injury or other disability. That’s why Sargood is such a great place, because it encourages as much independence as possible – through its activities, its facilities, talks and therapy – while supporting guests wherever they need it.