The new GoKids van is a fully mobile and self-contained van that travels to various Victorian rural locations to enable children with complex mobility needs to be able to walk, move and play independently.

The service was officially launched at Ballarat South Community Hub on July 23rd, with six-year-old Archie Sims and his mother Anna Sims opening the service alongside Scope CEO Jennifer Fitzgerald, Natasha Bowness from the Bowness Family Foundation, Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Samantha McIntosh and Deputy Mayor of Ballarat, Cr Mark Harris.

Archie happily showed off how he was able to independently race around in his Hart Walker.  “Life for Archie now he has the Hart Walker has been amazing. Archie and his brother Jake can race down the hallway, Archie on his Hart Walker and Jake on his scooter. There’s certainly a couple of dents in my walls!” said Archie’s mum Anna with a chuckle.

For Anna, the GoKids van service means she and other regional families no longer have to make long trips to Melbourne. “As a parent, you always want to do what’s best for your child. And what was best for Archie, was to go to a specialised physiotherapy service that understood and could assist with the complexity of his disability, even if that meant making a three hour drive. Families that may have never been able to drive up can now access the same services Archie has.”

Scope’s specialised physiotherapists will support families with a complete end-to-end service through initial consultations for mobility devices, ongoing reports, equipment implementation and after-care. The van will also allow GoKids therapists to reach out to regional therapists and services and share specialised knowledge to build regional capacity to support children with complex physical disability.

Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald says that the service was created with a simple philosophy – to ensure that any child with complex physical needs has the right to access the services that are essential to them, regardless of where they live. “Scope noticed there were several barriers in the time, distance and cost to come to Melbourne and our GoKids team was determined to address the accessibility of our program for regional families,” said Dr. Fitzgerald.

Scope’s vision for the GoKids Mobility Van Service could not have been possible without the generous and continued support of the Bowness Family Foundation, who supported the purchase, fit-out and modification of the van, and the van’s operating costs.

If you would like to know more about the GoKids Mobility Van Service, please contact Scope’s Community and Inclusion Resource Centre at circ@scopeaust.org.au or by telephoning (03) 9843 2000.