A ‘doggone’ success

By Bryce Eishold
Latrobe Valley Express
20 Jul 2017

LVE 20170720A physical activity program designed for people who experience high and complex support needs has been extended following its success. Pictured is therapy dog Kali during a Pilates class. photo hayley mills

A physical program based around Pilates and featuring a dog named Kali for people with high and complex support needs has been extended for another term.

The extension follows its success and positive impact on the community.

The Local Fitness for Everyone Project, also known as the LIFE Project, is a collaboration between the Moe Life Skills Community Centre and Monash University School of Rural Health.

The program is aimed at providing six people with disabilities an opportunity to partake in a program with six able-bodied community members, creating opportunities for participants to develop new relationships.

Moe Life Skills Community Centre chief executive Carole Broxham said the program, which commenced in late April, was supposed to end in early June has been extended until the end of the second school term due to its success.

“So we have six people with disabilities who have very high and complex support needs come together with six members of the community to undertake the physical activity program,” Dr Broxham said.

“That physical activity program is the Pilates, because the idea behind this of course is because people with complex needs often miss out on vital recreational activities due to communication difficulties and physical support requirements.”

Part of the program consists of an evaluation conducted by the School of Rural Health which is expected to provide evidence-based outcomes to inform policy, planning and service provision into the future.

“We hope that the findings will support the development of further education and training for support workers and highlight the benefits of the Life Project,” Dr Broxham said.

The Pilates sessions are conducted by Anna McKenzie, a local primary school teacher and Pilates instructor, once a week over a one hour period.

A therapy dog, named Kali, is used during the program in an attempt to make the environment “comfortable and welcoming” for program participants.

The program has been funded with a $10,000 contribution from Bank Australia’s Impact Fund.

See the original article in the Latrobe Valley Express.