Sargood Resort - A Community Triumph

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More than simply a beautiful place for people with spinal cord injuries to enjoy a break, Sargood On Collaroy is a world first offering guests the chance to learn new skills, try new activities and forge new relationships that will endure long after the Sargood experience.

This $15.5million architecturally designed resort in Collaroy has been built to ensure complete ease of movement and access specifically for people with
a spinal cord injury.

Designed from the ground up with wheelchair accessibility in mind, Sargood On Collaroy features 17 self-contained apartments overlooking beautiful Collaroy Beach, each one named after a beach on the peninsula.

The local community has rallied for years to have the former site, initially used as a place of recuperation for returning servicemen and then a children’s hospital, transformed into a health based venue. Following a community meeting and an approach by Colin Apps, a local resident and quadriplegic, the community settled on a resort style facility designed for people with a spinal cord injury - which is now called Sargood on Collaroy.

Starting as Collaroy Community Group and developing into the Sargood Foundation, members fought to ensure the land, donated by Fredrick Sargood back in 1918, was put to good use. 

Liz and Rod Macqueen are Directors of the Sargood Foundation, which was instrumental in establishing the new facility. They were also members of the original Collaroy Community Group, together with Bob Loader and Greg Millson, and have been part of the project since it began more than 20 years ago. Liz and Rod had a long-time friend who sustained a traumatic spinal injury in 1991.

Through that experience, they realised there were a lack of places to go to after rehabilitation to learn the skills and confidence to return to as normal a life as possible. Liz says, “The comments we get from people who stay here are that they just forget that they are in a wheelchair.” 

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World First

Ensuring all the needs of people with spinal cord injuries are catered for is at the very core of the design. It sets a new benchmark for helping guests manage their lives and assisting them in reconnecting with their community.

Heidi Haydon, Live and Learn Resource Co-ordinator at Sargood On Collaroy, was first involved with the project before the build even began.

“It’s even better than I ever imagined it would be. When you have had a life-changing injury doing something new can be very daunting but being here can really help.

“It’s amazing to see guests come here and try new things or just relax, perhaps for the first time since their injury,” explains Heidi, who is also a proud  ambassador of the Sargood Foundation.

A keen motorcyclist, she was injured in a road accident eight years ago and understands firsthand the challenges for people in wheelchairs, which is why she chose Sargood on Collaroy for her 30th birthday celebrations.

“Everywhere else I have ever been there has been some issue. I think people really love the fact that it is so easy here. We have a really relaxed crew and have all worked in the area of spinal cord injuries. We have people that are understanding and open and there is really no judgement here. 

WMK Architecture held workshops with people who might use the centre to ensure every detail was considered and every need met. The unique features include extra wide doorways, a large two-sided lift and automated doors and windows. Guests have access to an app and iPad to manage their environment at the touch of a screen.

There is height adjustable furniture, extra-large bathrooms and integrated harness tracks and hoists on hand, if needed. Families and carers can be accommodated and there is a range of communal seating areas, both inside and outside, where guests can relax and make new friendships if they choose.

Leea Taylor, Executive Officer of the Sargood Foundation, says guests share their experiences and challenges while staying at Sargood on Collaroy.

“We have people stay who have been in a chair for 20 years and have never been for a swim. It gives people the opportunity to talk to others about being in a wheelchair and about their experiences,” she adds.

Heidi says she simply wants everyone with a spinal cord injury to know Sargood on Collaroy exists and to be able to take advantage of this unique facility that has teamed up with Royal Rehab, the provider and a leader in rehabilitation services.

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Sargood Activities

Sargood On Collaroy offers a range of activities for people with spinal cord injuries, giving them the opportunity to develop vocational skills, health, well-being and education to help enhance their independence.

Guests can co-ordinate specific programs and try out sports with the use of specially adapted equipment.

People living close by can also join the gym for a monthly fee and use the resort on a regular basis.

Sebastian Van Veenendal is the Adaptive Sport and Recreation Therapist, who works with guests and members to assess their ability and aid them in whatever sport or adventure takes their fancy.

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“We find out what they can do when they are here and what they want to achieve when they go home. A lot of the work is about increasing their initial confidence and building on that. It’s not just about making their stay better, it’s about making their lives better,” explains Sebastian.

The Sargood gym boasts an array of state-of-the art equipment designed with accessibility in mind. A gym program to meet the needs of each individual can be designed and programmed into the equipment. Sebastian is also able to assist with and organise activities including rock climbing, cycling, skiing, yoga, surfing using a Wavejet propulsion system, diving, snorkelling, kayaking and fishing. There are also art classes and photography opportunities available.

There is wheelchair access right up to top of Long Reef – down to the beach and into Collaroy with local businesses ensuring access onto their premises for everyone. Sargood also has a number of power chairs and 4WD chairs that enable access to the beach and work is starting on a new walkway down to the beach and a fully accessible beachfront shower.

Sargood Foundation + Community Links

The Sargood Foundation began life as the Collaroy Community Group and Liz Macqueen, a former member and now Director of the Foundation, says it has always enjoyed overwhelming community support from the local residents, local clubs and businesses, as well as from all three tiers of Government.

The former Warringah Council overwhelmingly supported the Sargood project, deeming Collaroy to be an all abilities area by providing accessible pathways, an all abilities playground and surf club, and a free wheeler chair for swimming.

Liz says that businesses from local cafés, salons, restaurants and real estate agents through to the Collaroy Beach Club, Long Reef Golf Club, Dee Why RSL and The Collaroy Hotel, as well as Bunnings, have been outstanding in supporting The Sargood Foundation through fundraising, gifts in kind, awarding monies or managing equipment, as Long Reef Golf Club does with the Paragolfer, an all-terrain wheelchair that raises the user into a standing position, to allow a more conventional golf swing.

They continue to support Sargood on Collaroy and welcome guests and members by ensuring a friendly welcome and easy access into their businesses.

The Foundation also enjoys the support of their patron, Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) and vice-patrons and radio personalities, Alan Jones AO, and Wendy Harmer, and Rod Macqueen AM.

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Funding + Pricing

The Sargood Foundation continues to raise funds to assist Sargood on Collaroy to operate as a place of learning and provides funding assistance to encourage independent living within the general community. The Foundation welcomes donations so that it can continue to support independent living for people with a spinal injury as much as possible. 

The foundation also stages community and fundraising events. If you would like to donate to assist the foundation, please go to www.sargoodfoundation.org.au or email info@sargood.org.au.

The Foundation also encourages businesses to sponsor employees with a spinal cord injury who may benefit from some time spent at Sargood on Collaroy.

Room prices start from $300 a night and there are a variety of different packages tailored for varying care and support requirements. Funding options may be available through NDIS and icare. 

Gym Fees

12 months: 
$840 annual fee
+ a once only $99 set up fee. 


Sargood On Collaroy
1 Brissenden Ave, Collaroy
(02) 8597 0600
www.sargoodoncollaroy.com
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