Caroline Maplesden and Richard Porter farewelled after decades of service

June 26, 2024 BY

Caroline Maplesden and Richard Porter. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE Surf Coast Shire Council’s All Abilities Advisory Committee (AAAC) is bidding farewell to long-serving members Caroline Maplesden and Richard Porter.

Caroline and Richard have dedicated over 40 years combined to enhancing access and inclusion for people with disabilities within the community.

Cr Rose Hodge, former AAAC council representative, praised Caroline and Richard’s dedication and impact.

“They have shown incredible dedication to the All Abilities Advisory Committee and our community,” Cr Hodge said.

The All Abilities Advisory Committee is bidding farewell to long-serving members. Photo: SUPPLIED


“Caroline’s passion for improving footpath accessibility has been outstanding, and her advocacy for people with vision impairment has made a real difference to many council projects over the years.

“And Richard has shared invaluable insights with his knowledge of access standards for buildings and great commitment to help provide all community members with equitable access.”

Caroline Maplesden, who served as chair of the committee from 2017 to 2021, has been a member since the AAAC’s inception in 2002.

She represented Vision Australia at the inaugural meetings, drawing on her extensive experience in the disability sector in both New Zealand and Australia.

“I was privileged to visit people’s homes, to walk alongside them on paths, helping them to learn how to cross roads or to find their chair in a nursing home,” she said.

Caroline remained on the committee as a community representative even after retiring following the rollout of the NDIS in 2015.

She highlights numerous achievements of the AAAC, including the installation of beach matting, beach wheelchairs, purpose-built playgrounds, and adult changing spaces with hoists in Anglesea and Winchelsea.

Richard Porter, who joined the committee 19 years ago, brought his expertise as a building surveyor.

He served as deputy chair for several years and was acting chair in 2022.

Richard valued the committee’s positive and collaborative spirit.

“Over the time the highlights have been meeting the people I did and achieving the different things we did,” he said.

“There was always a very positive sort of ‘let’s see what we can do’ attitude by everybody.”

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