Since opening its doors two years ago, people with spinal cord injury (SCI) have travelled from across the world to experience Sargood on Collaroy, a fully-accessible and unique resort that is changing holiday travel for people impacted by living with SCI.

Almost all guests (98 per cent) who have stayed at Sargood on Collaroy said the experience had a positive impact on their life. It is the first resort in the world to give people with SCI a place where they can enjoy a holiday without having to worry about accessibility or miss out on activities because of their injury.

The purpose-built resort has attracted hundreds of guests from across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Norway, and was the official training camp for the Great Britain wheelchair rugby team in the lead up to the IWRF Wheelchair Rugby World Championships in August.

Some of Australia’s most celebrated Paralympians have also visited the resort to enjoy the ocean-view surroundings and to take part in activities that are not always easily available to people with SCI.

With the help of the latest technology and equipment, Sargood on Collaroy offers guests the chance to enjoy recreational activities such as surfing, cycling, archery, rock climbing, golf, ocean kayaking, and yoga. When looking to unwind, guests can relax and socialise at sunset drinks, accompanied by live music in the ocean view lounge.

Sargood on Collaroy continues to expand its experiences for guests. The resort has started offering scuba diving courses and a ReWalk program, which will give guests the chance to use a robotic exoskeleton to walk.

According to resort manager, James Dakin, the world-class resort was designed to break down common barriers that prevent people with SCI to fully enjoy a vacation.

“We aim to remove the stress of travel prior to arrival. We want our first-time guests to feel reassured that we have highly capable staff, a fully accessible facility and any equipment they may need at the resort. Our role is to take the fear and frustration of travel out of the equation,” he said.

Each apartment at the facility has been designed to feature assistive technology, home automation technology, adaptive equipment and living aids. The spacious common area kitchen, lounge rooms, balconies and hallways are all designed with people with SCI in mind. The expansive areas encourage interaction between guests, family and friends.

“Many of our guests don’t have the opportunity to interact or socialise with others who have an SCI in their daily lives, which can feel isolating at times. We have seen families form friendships and go on to book their next stays together. We like to think that our open-plan design and group activities create an environment where people can build meaningful bonds,” Dakin said.

Sam Bloom, inspiration behind best seller Penguin Bloom, said her visits to the resorts gym has helped build her confidence following an accident.

“Following my accident in Thailand, it took a lot of effort for me to regain my confidence and independence. Exercise helped me focus on improving my physical strength, but also made a big impact on how I was feeling mentally. I’m thankful that I have a facility like Sargood on Collaroy in close reach. I hope that more venues designed for people with SCI are developed in the future,” Bloom said.

Mark Soyer, who is a para-alpine skier and winter Paralympian, is joining Sargood on Collaroy’s two-year celebrations and recently experienced the resort.

“Through sport I have been lucky enough to extensively travel the world many times, I have seen nothing like it anywhere. Sargood has managed to take all medical-related requirements needed for someone with SCI, completely individualise them for each visitor while maintaining a 6-star resort feel. It’s incredible,” he said.

The resort is operated by Royal Rehab, a leading spinal injury rehabilitation service in NSW, and continues to offer guests financial assistance via the Sargood Foundation, icare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

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