14 October 2023

Sport NSW Disability Inclusion Project comes to Wagga and Albury

| Vanessa Hayden
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Wagga Wagga and Albury will be hosting a multi-sport and activity day for students (five to 18) who live with physical, intellectual or sensory disability. Photo: Supplied.

Sport and physical activity come naturally to some, while for others they’re more of a struggle.

For individuals living with disability, finding safe, doable and enjoyable activities in their community can be even more challenging.

If that sounds like you, here’s your chance to have a go at a range of activities in a fun and inclusive environment.

Wagga Wagga and Albury City Councils will be hosting a multi-sport and activity day for students (five to 18) who live with physical, intellectual or sensory disability. This event aims to introduce participants to a variety of sports to help them find the one that suits them best.

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Wagga will be holding its event at the Multi-purpose Stadium on Tuesday (17 October) and Albury’s will be held at the Lavington Sports Ground on Wednesday 18 October. Both events will be held between 10 am and 1 pm.

In collaboration with Sport NSW and Disability Sports Australia, the Sport NSW Disability Inclusion Project seeks to understand the experiences of participants and their carers in community sports.

This initiative is not limited to students, as Disability Sports Australia will also offer similar events for groups of adults.

Kristy Rohrer, the national program manager of the Activate Inclusion Sports Days, said that while the specific sports offered were still being confirmed, they typically included golf, tennis, NRL and AFL.

She said the nationwide program was primarily offered through specialist schools, but those enrolled in mainstream schools could also participate by registering for the event.

“The project’s primary goal is to increase sports participation opportunities for school-aged children with disabilities in their communities and to provide insights and recommendations to improve outcomes for both participants and sports,” she said.

“The program focuses on creating pathways for participants to continue their sports journey in their local community.

“Local providers are preferred, but in regional areas, the program collaborates with state sporting organisations such as Cricket NSW and AFL NSW.

“These organisations can bring clubs with them, provide training in inclusion and adaption, which they can take back and implement at their clubs.

“This is an important part of the program as the last thing we want to happen is that a student comes along and loves cricket but then there’s no cricket program in the area for them to go to.”

Sports day celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Sports day celebrates diversity and inclusion. Photo: Supplied.

Albury Mayor Kylie King said projects like these were valuable.

“We are a diverse and inclusive community in Albury, always looking for ways to provide greater access to sport for those living with disability.

“We’re pleased to welcome Sport NSW to Albury to share these important events with our community,” she said.

“If you’re living with disability, are a carer for a family friend or loved one, or are a disability provider, I’d encourage you to come along and find out how you can get involved.”

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The Sport NSW Disability Inclusion Project is an 18-month initiative focused on increasing community capacity and capability in sports participation.

It is funded by the NSW Government through the Community Sport Recovery Package 2021. As part of the program, there will be community information sessions and online webinars.

Following the multi-sport activity day, an Adaptive Sport Community information session will be held at the Rules Club Wagga Wagga (17 October) and the SS&A Club in Albury (18 October). Both events start at 5:30 pm with refreshments. You can find registration details here.

“This session will provide an excellent platform for information exchange and discussions on making sport more accessible to all,” said Kristy.

Representatives from Disability Sports Australia, Sports Medicine Australia, Paralympian Rae Anderson, and local athletes, including Daniel Searle, Glen Jarvis, and the Wodonga Jets All-Abilities AFL, will share their insights and experiences.

You can find out more or register for the multi-sport and activity day here.

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