Making waves at 'the Wicko'

Surfing the Spectrum co-founders Aimee Blacker and Tahlia Anderson. Credit: Marina Weitz.

22 SEP 2019

Nikita Ashford

THE Wickham Park Hotel has teamed up with local children’s charity Surfing the Spectrum, to create a ‘barrel of fun’ for families living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The local hotel in Newcastle will be holding a fun-filled afternoon of live music, raffles and prizes on September 28, to help Surfing the Spectrum teach children with ASD how to surf across eight locations this summer.

Surfing the Spectrum volunteers have been raising awareness of the organisation, and helping children on the autism spectrum connect with the ocean through surf therapy for the past two years.

Previous events held have been so successful and positively embraced by the community that Surfing the Spectrum is hoping to increase the number of events each season due to popular demand.

The love of surfing, connecting volunteers to people with Autism. Credit: Marina Weitz.

Surfing the Spectrum co-founder and certified surf instructor Tahlia Anderson said the first event held at Nobbys Beach in 2017 received such great feedback that the number increased to four the following year.

“Our aim this year is to double that number again. Last season we ran two events at Nobbys, one at Caves Beach and one in Port Macquarie,” she said.

“This year we plan to expand our services along the east coast and deliver our unique opportunity to children with ASD in communities outside the Hunter Region.”

Publican Marcus Wright was happy to help with the growing demands for inclusive, community-based support to provide respite for families and help develop skills for people with ASD.

Having a teenage son with Autism, Mr Wright told the Australian Hotels Association that he welcomes the chance to encourage great work achieved by local charities who are helping people with disabilities.

“The pub supports numerous charities every year but this one is particularly close to my heart,” he said.

Acoustic melodies from solo Irish Jazz musician JJ King will kick-start the fundraiser in the Wicko’s beer garden at 4pm, followed by rhythm and blues band the Blues Bombers and classic rock n roll favourites the Ride Ons later in the evening.

Entry on the day is free, and raffle prizes on the night include a Stuey Martins surfboard, a stunning framed print by Henshaw Imagery, plus many more donated items from supporting local businesses.

Surfing the Spectrum’s first event of the season will kick off in Port Macquarie with Port Macquarie Surf School on September 21. Registration is now open and accessible through Surfing the Spectrum’s Facebook page.

Tags: #Surfingthespectrum #AutismSpectrumDisorder #ASD #SurfTherapy #Oceantherapy #Surfing #Community #Volunteer #Fundraising #TheWicko #Newcastle


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