South West Sport has a long history of supporting people with a disability to get active through the Access for All Abilities program (AAA). However, thanks to a $50,000 Reimagine Health Grant from VicHealth, we have been working with the community of Warrnambool and with disability service providers to co-design an Accessible Active Participation Plan.
The project aims to reimagine what our communities look like and how they function for people with a disability to create more opportunities for active participation, social inclusion, and social connection. Ensuring that all members of our community have an opportunity to be included in sport and recreation to meet their needs.
What role do sports clubs have to play in this project? Over the coming weeks, we will be sending out an Access for All Abilities Club Survey, this will help us to understand what is happening within sports clubs and what support clubs and volunteers would need to start working in the Access for All Abilities space.
We want to hear from the whole community when designing this plan, especially from people with a disability, to ensure the program truly represents their needs. Our AAA Participation Survey is live now and can be found here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AAAParticipation. A critical step in this community engagement happened on the 6th of May when South West Sport took to the Reid Oval with year 5 & 6 Students from Merri River School. The students tested their skills at cricket, football and soccer, thanks to the generous volunteer and equipment support from Nestles Cricket Club, Brierly Christ Church Cricket Club, Warrnambool Wolves Soccer Club, and AFL Western District.
The day allowed the team to activate an existing community space to provide an active participation opportunity, but it gave us the opportunity to chat with the students and find out how they like to get active and what kids of participation opportunities they would like to see locally. All of this vital information and information collected through our AAA Participation Surveys for both participants and clubs will feed into the co-designed plan and help us reimagine a more active and accessible future in Warrnambool for people with a disability.
The organisation hopes to develop Accessible Active Participation Plans for the other local governments it supports if it can secure additional funding.
To keep up to date with the project, keep an eye on our socials.