Natasha takes to the skies
Livability manager Natasha Coles took one of the charity’s key values – be courageous – to heart when she completed her first skydive recently. Natasha tells us why the sky’s the limit when it comes to raising funds for the people she supports.
What do you do for Livability?
I’m deputy manager at Livability Ashley Place, a residential care home on the south coast at Bognor Regis. I work with adults with a range of disabilities, most of whom are wheelchair users.
Why a skydive?
We’ve been working together and with the people we support to raise funds for a new mobility vehicle. We’re nearly there and this is the last big effort so we can buy the vehicle.
Had you skydived before?
No! It’s been on my bucket list.
What did your family think?
Well, my daughter Chloe is did it with me, my son wanted to but can’t for various reasons and my husband was happy for me to do it – but said there’s no way he was jumping out of a plane.
What did the people you support think?
They were excited for us.
What was the jump like?
Amazing! I jumped with an experienced ‘buddy’ who was attached to me. We flew way above the clouds to 15,000 feet, the side of the plane opens, you lean forward and that’s it – you’re diving! We freefalled for 60 seconds at around 125mph before the parachute deployed. It was exhilarating and I absolutely loved it. My daughter was higher than cloud nine anad was so happy to have helped us in our target for the new vehicle. We raised over £1400 from the dive.
How will getting a mobility vehicle help people to make better connections with others?
The aim is for one-to-one outings, or trips out with a friend, rather than a big minibus. To be able to sit at the front of the vehicle aids communication and means the person is fully involved in where they are going and what they see. Most of the time, wheelchairs are stuck in the back of minibuses with limited views. To be able to nip into the local community and not having to find parking for a large minibus is also much better and enables the staff to park nearer the location.
What impact will this have on residents’ wellbeing?
Everyone likes to get out and about. It gives you freedom and independence. Minibuses now need MIDAS-trained drivers so having a car also increases the opportunities to go out as we do have drivers but not all are able to drive the minibus. It will enable prompt transport for things like appointments, as public transport here is not reliable.