Cyclists drive new disability service for Cooma

PEOPLE with disabilities and their families in Cooma and the Snowy Mountains are set to benefit from a new disability service being launched in the region in 2013.

Hartley Lifecare, a Canberra-based not-for-profit organisation that provides special, intensive, ongoing support for people with physical and complex disabilities, will expand its Assistive Technology scheme to people in the region next year.

The announcement was made as hundreds of cyclists were in Cooma on Friday for the annual Hartley Lifecare Ability Cycle Challenge.

Two hundred and sixty four cyclists from across Australia took part in the ride from Canberra to Mount Kosciuszko and back, to raise money for Hartley Lifecare.

This year they raised $500,000- eclipsing past fundraising efforts.

Hartley Lifecare event co-odinator and fundraising manager, Helen Falla said the extension of services into the region was very exciting and the result of successful fundraising efforts of the riders over the years.

Assistive Technology helps those living with a disability to gain greater independence by using technology to communicate with others; to establish control within their own environment and through the provision of technology and training allowing them to perform a range of skills required at work.

This dedicated assessment and training program helps to provide an innovative approach to helping people with a disability through access to education and skills development, build skills for the future and give them the capacities, and help they need to secure and maintain employment.

Hartley Lifecare will work with Cooma-Monaro Shire Council to understand the level of local need and make contact with local disability organisations.

Cooma mayor Dean Lynch met with riders when they stopped in Cooma at the Showground. They were headed for an overnight stop in Jindabyne and then off to Charlotte Pass on Saturday.

Cr Lynch said council was fully supportive of Hartley Lifecare.

"While the service is Canberra based it is going to deliver services into the local area and I think it is something everyone should support."

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