Fishability Mandurah founder calls time on role as program coordinator

Almost a decade in the role of Fishability Mandurah coordinator has given her a wealth of cherished memories, but program founder Dee Castillo has called time on her role and is now looking forward to her next chapter.

Ms Castillo launched Fishability Mandurah, a weekly fishing program run by volunteers for those living with disabilities, some seven years ago after originally giving her time to a similar group based in Perth.

It was her drive to pitch in for the community that led her to the program, which has since grown to support roughly 50 participants eager to show off their prized catches every Thursday morning.

Outgoing Fishability coordinator Dee Castillo pictured with her successor, Mike Chitty. Photo: Justin Rake.

Outgoing Fishability coordinator Dee Castillo pictured with her successor, Mike Chitty. Photo: Justin Rake.

"I was looking to volunteer for something when I first moved here, but I didn't really want to go into schools or anything like that, so when I saw this fishing for the disabled program based in Perth I jumped at the chance," she said.

"After a while they asked me if I'd like to start a new program in Mandurah, and I was over the moon.

"I had five volunteers signed up the next day and we were off and running."

The program took off quickly, with local organisations like Midway Community Care, Enable, Diversity South and more jumping on board, as well as local schools.

It wasn't long until the jetty underneath the bridge was packed with people, who all now hold fond memories of their coordinator, Dee, from over the years.

"The excitement the participants have when they land a fish, you just can't explain it," she said.

"To see them so happy every time they come down here, that's what makes it so great."

Fishability Mandurah meets every Thursday. Photo: Justin Rake.

Fishability Mandurah meets every Thursday. Photo: Justin Rake.

Ms Castillo had plenty of thanks for her fellow volunteers, many of whom had been with the program since its inception.

"I have to thank all the volunteers I have had over the years. They have made the role of coordinator so easy for me," she said.

"I am so proud of what we have achieved over the years since we started up with a donated trailer and five volunteers.

"It was been a team effort and we have grown to this amazing program for people of all abilities to enjoy."

Taking over from Ms Castillo is fellow volunteer Mike Chitty, who will now step into the role of coordinator.

"I've only been with the program roughly nine months and I love it," Mr Chitty said.

"It's a great thing to be a part of so I'm really excited to take on the role."

Fishability runs at the Mandurah Foreshore every Thursday morning, with the program supplying all rods, equipment and bait to participants.

For more information or to register for the program, call Mike Chitty on 0481 821 936.