Every 14 hours a child in Australia is born with cerebral palsy, making it the most common childhood disability.
Cerebral palsy affects the way the brain controls the body’s muscles and results in speech, movement and posture difficulties.
The Cerebral Palsy League, operating out of Queensland, provides the therapies, equipment and new technologies required to make those living with cerebral palsy easier.
“Just like everyone, people with cerebral palsy and physical disability have life goals and dreams,” the group’s spokesperson told Australian Mining.
“Community support helps us offer a wide range of community programs that support them to pursue their creative talents and passions.”
To ensure these services stay well-funded, the league has teamed up with Queensland mining operations to set up an innovative new fundraising scheme.
The ‘Metal for Mobility’ program is spearheading a new revenue stream and helping the league fund and support disability services by using scrap metal from mining sites across Queensland.
Starting last year in just a single Queensland mine, the Cerebral Palsy League’s Metal for Mobility program has grown to help fund programs for Queenslanders with disabilities in Brisbane, Mackay, Wide Bay, Central Queensland and Toowoomba.
According to Brendan McGufficke, business development coordinator at Cerebral Palsy League, Metal for Mobility is a simple concept with wide-ranging benefits.
“Metal for Mobility is essentially a recycling scheme,” McGufficke said.
“It’s a straightforward concept, easy to implement, and achieves amazing outcomes for mining companies, for our clients, and for communities across the state.”
The process involves the installation of a special scrap metals bin at mine sites where companies can quickly and safely dispose of any metal products they have no intention of using.
The bins are collected, the contents weighed, and the scrap metal sold to merchants.
Funds from the sale are then donated to the Cerebral Palsy League, who direct the funding to local programs for children and adults with disabilities.
McGufficke said the scheme not only helps those living with cerebral palsy but is also a win-win for the mining companies.
“For companies, the Metal for Mobility program works in so many ways,” he said.
“At the ground level, their worksites are cleaner. Less waste and scrap lying around means safer worksites.
“Recycling scrap metal is also environmentally responsible and helps businesses reduce their carbon footprints and meet their environmental goals and targets.
“For staff, working for an organisation that is committed to contributing to its local community can be really motivational,” he said.
And importantly, the program creates a regular source of income for the Cerebral Palsy League.
“The funds that are raised via the Metal for Mobility program are directed straight into programs running in those communities,” McGufficke explained.
“No site is too big or too small.
“When it comes to providing disability services, every dollar counts.”
With big-ticket companies like Downer EDI, Bechtel and Toll signing up for the scheme, it seems the good-news practice is catching on in the sunshine state.
Since its implementation in 2012 the program has raised $25,000 for the Cerebral Palsy League and McGufficke said he hoped to see the Metal for Mobility scrap bins installed in many more mining operations throughout Queensland and indeed Australia.
“With some big names already signed up, including Downer EDI, the Cerebral Palsy League is looking to sign on new sites across the state,” McGufficke said.
“If more companies come on board with the Metal for Mobility program, we can support even more adults and children with disability by providing them with the equipment and therapies they urgently need to live more fulfilling and inclusive lives.”
Downer have installed the bins at the Commodore Coal mine, with the company saying it is proud to be involved in the program.
“We are proud to be partnering with the Cerebral Palsy League in rolling out the Metal for Mobility program whereby funds received from the recycling of scrap metal from the site are then donated to help people with a disability lead a fulfilling and active life,” project manager and site senior executive at Commodore, Clem Baldwin, said.
“Downer EDI Mining’s operation at Commodore Mine has been supporting organisations in the local community around Millmerran over a number of years.
“The Metal for Mobility program is an opportunity to engage with our staff, promote environmental sustainability through metal recycling and most importantly, help people living with disabilities in our community.”
Malavika Santhebennur is a young women living with cerebral palsy and says the services provided by organisations like the Cerebral Palsy League are key in ensuring people living with disabilities get the help they need.
“Schemes like metal for mobility are a great way to fund the facilities and services people living with the cerebral palsy need,” Santhebennur said.
“Without the help of funding and groups, services like this are often costly so anything the community can do to help ease the burden is greatly beneficial and should be more widespread.”