More Sporting Opportunities for People With Disability
26 April 2013 at 10:07 am
The Victorian Government will provide almost $4 million in 2013 to sport and community organisations to deliver services that open up more sporting opportunities for people with disability.
The Government says it has upgraded the Access for All Abilities Program to increase participation of all Victorians whether as players, coaches, volunteers or administrators.
“Many sporting associations are already doing a great job in creating welcoming environments for people with disability. This renewed program will give more support to sporting associations and their clubs to involve people with disability,” said Sports MInister, Hugh Delahunty.
Blind Sports Victoria, Tennis Victoria, Basketball Victoria, the Australian Paralympic Committee and Reclink Australia have welcomed the renewed program saying it would help broaden the reach of existing programs for disabled sports and build on the existing strengths.
“There is a significant gap between participation in sport by people with disability and the rest of the Victorian population. The proposed changes to the program will continue to help close that gap, by building stronger links between the sports sector and people with disability,” Blind Sports Victoria President Maurice Gleeson said.
Chief Executive Officer of Basketball Victoria Nick Honey said sporting organisations like Basketball Victoria were well placed to build the capacity of sporting clubs to help people with disability at the grassroots level.
“Basketball Victoria has already made significant achievements through our Inclusive Basketball Strategy program, enabling people with disabilities to participate in basketball across all levels of our sport. The model is highly integrated with a major focus on strengthening the capacity of Basketball Victoria and our affiliated associations to create a basketball environment that is healthier, accessible, inclusive, equitable and welcoming for all people in our community,” Honey said.
“We have 155 Associations and around 130,000 members across the state, and I’m looking forward to encouraging more people with disability to be involved,” he said.
Tennis Victoria CEO Matthew Kennedy said he was glad to be creating more sporting opportunities for people with disability.
“We have already established some successful partnership initiatives with disability sporting organisations, such as Blind Sports Victoria, and this refocussed program will help us to create even more sporting opportunities for people with disability,” Kennedy said.
Tim Matthews from the Australian Paralympic Committee described the new
partnership as an exciting opportunity to build community sport.
“The success of the 2012 London Paralympics continued to raise awareness of what people with disability are capable of achieving with great structures and support
systems,” Matthews said.
Adrian Panozzo, CEO said Reclink Australia has been an Access for All Abilities provider for many years.
“Our experience is that this program is at its best when it directly engages with community sport to develop and grow sustainable opportunities for people with disability, just as community sport does for the rest of the community. Giving sport more support to do this is a positive step,” Panozzo said.
Minister Delahunty said the program will include a dedicated service to connect people with disability, with sport and recreation opportunities.
State Sporting Associations will be eligible for funding to directly build capacity in their clubs.
Disability sports and community organisations will be invited to offer programs and services that complement and support work by State Sporting Associations and Regional Sports Assemblies.