Ariel in the News: Ariel App's Impact on Port Stephens

Discover how the Ariel App is making headlines in the Port Stephens Examiner. Learn about its promising role in enhancing tourism and bringing new dimensions to travel experiences in the region.

Ariel Community Team
4 min

A NEW app developed in Newcastle is set to improve inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities across Australia.

The Ariel App has been developed by Kate Maslen and Jordan Freeman and they are looking to find mainstream local Port Stephens businesses which are inclusive and accessible to connect them to Port Stephens residents with disabilities. "We want to provide more connection and inclusion, but importantly we want to show local businesses that the spending power of people with disabilities is huge and it's in businesses best interest to market to this demographic," Ms Maslen said, who along with Ms Freeman has a background in disability support work.

Ms Maslen said given the large tourism sector in Port Stephens, the Ariel App could also tap into people visiting the area and wanting local accessible businesses and services from accommodation, through to restaurants and tourist attractions as well as businesses covering every day services. 

"At its core, Ariel Community serves as a bridge, connecting individuals with disabilities to an extensive network of businesses and services designed with accessibility in mind.

"People can use it to find for instance the nearest wheelchair accessible cafe, which is available in terms of accessible accommodation." 

Ms Freeman said there had been a positive response to the Ariel App among Newcastle businesses and they expected similar results in Port Stephens.

One of the first businesses to show interest is the Seaside Holiday Resort Fingal Bay which has been providing accessible rooms for more than a decade.

They initially started with two-bedroom accessible rooms and created three-bedroom units about three years ago which are constantly in demand year round.

Seaside Holiday Resort manager De-Anne Anderson said making your business disabled inclusive made great sense and the bottomline profitable.

"The units have been lowered cupboards in the kitchen, just shower curtains in the bathroom so it is easy for people to roll in.

"There are grab rolls, the carport is right next to the front door so it is easy access to unload the car and get the guest into the unit.

"Simple but important things such as having a pool hoist to help guests into the pool ensure everyone is included and enjoys their stay."

Ms Anderson, who has managed the resort for 14 years, said Fingal Bay as a community was inclusive.

"The Surf Club restaurant across the road has a lift to take people upstairs if they are in a wheelchair and they can see the beautiful view,"she said.

She said at the beach there is a mobi-mat, a wheelchair beach access mat which can be rolled out permanently to help people with access to the beach.

"You can also make a call to the Surf Club and they will arrange a mobi-chair which gives them access onto the sand," she said.

Ms Anderson said the resort worked closed with Ansteys Healthcare which supplies health and mobility equipment specific to people's needs during their stay.

She said the Ariel App was a wonderful initiative which would enable people thinking of coming to Port Stephens to know that all the services and access they require to enjoy a holiday are here.

"I'm shocked it wasn't already out there. I think it's absolutely wonderful that these girls are having a go and putting it out there for everyone."

Article by

Ariel Community Team

The Ariel Community Team are dedicated to delivering innovative digital products to improve disability inclusion throughout Australia.

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