I acknowledge and pay respect to the land and the traditional families of the Yugambeh region of South East Queensland, including the Kombumerri, Mununjali, Wangerriburra and others, and their Elders past present and emerging.
In recent times we have been reminded of the importance of the Sports Access Foundation’s work, the work to ensure young Australians living with a disability continue to have the support they need.
We have all experienced significant shifts or reassessments in 2020 including becoming more attuned to the more important aspects of our lives, and how we need to support and help each other.
It has been uplifting to note that COVID-19 has encouraged many organisations to invest in diversity and inclusion programs to ensure the marginal parts of the community are resourced; but more can always be done.
The continued and growing support by our Federal Government in Paralympic Sport and other aligned diversity programs is testament to the perception change made over the last decade within the Australian sporting community. This increased awareness has made a huge difference in giving ‘everyone’ an opportunity to engage in sport.
However, we must continue to recognise the significant barriers that exist for people living with disabilities to participate in sport.
With COVID-19, it was evident that Sport Access Foundation needed to provide continual grant funding despite venues and clubs ceasing to operate during lockdowns.
Thanks to the support of BlueScope, Sport Access Foundation was able to offer the Building Up Grant to assist specifically with challenges for our young Australians living with a disability in their home schooling. We championed this Building Up Grant on the back of the additional challenges of being self-isolated in 2020.
Additionally, the support of PICA (Australia’s largest Strata management company) enabled us to provide the PICA Kick Start Grant to ensure funding was available to assist those needing financial support to surge back into their sport of choice.
We continued to offer our marquee Pathway to Paralympic Grant and also the Sport Access Foundation No Barriers Grant to assist individuals in competing and participating in sport.
The goal of SAF is to ensure that young Australians living with a disability can be active and achieve their sporting goals. Backed by our community-minded sponsors, Sport Access Foundation provides annual grants for children and young people with a disability.
The grants help provide products or services to enable children with a disability better access to participate in sport through their local sporting club or to participate in community programs. In particular, grants are given to help children with a disability to participate in sporting activities that are otherwise beyond their financial means, including to provide financial assistance for:
This year Sport Access Foundation had our highest number of applications, and in 3 years our applications have grown from 21 to 116. In 2020, we offered $8,000 worth of grants and we know from previous years how well received this support is and the opportunity that can follow.
In 2020, Sport Access Foundation signed new partnerships with two organisations, Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association and the National Sports Inclusion Alliance.
Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association (SWADA) provide services to facilitate participation in recreation and sport for people of all abilities. SWADA supports athletes pursuing bagging rights against their mates but also those aspiring for a gold medal at a Paralympic level. They also assist people with challenges from relearning to walk after injury or people needing assistance with maintaining an active and healthy life.
Sporting Wheelies delivers allied health services focused on rehabilitation strength and function and is the peak State body for the five Paralympic sports, Goalball, Wheelchair Rugby, Wheelchair Basketball, Boccia, Para Power Lifting.
The Agreement with SWADA seeks to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with Sport Access Foundation to enhance the lives of people with a disability throughout Queensland and Australia. Both organisations will look to promote and align each other’s pursuits and core values.
The second partnership is with the National Sports Inclusion Alliance (NSIA). NSIA have developed a collaborative partnership bringing together three key National Disability Sporting Organisations – Sport Inclusion Australia, Blind Sports Australia and Deaf Sports Australia. Our extended partnership seeks to maximise resources, promote awareness and share inclusion strategies across the country. Our shared vision and understanding seeks to make the sporting industry as a whole more inclusive. SAF and NSIA aim to:
Sport Access Foundation partnership with BlueScope continues to provide us with significant resources into developing our strategy and implementation of projects. Thank you to Mark Vassella and the BlueScope team for all your support.
We would also like to acknowledge the outstanding support of King & Wood Mallesons.
Also thank you to support provided by Brand and Story, and Director Paul Chappell.
This year we welcomed Grantley Creighton, our first Indigenous Board Member. The Board now consists of 10 members and I would like to thank all Board Members for your investment and support.
I would like to thank all of you for your own achievements and commitment in your own endeavours and for reaching out to Sport Access Foundation to share your experiences. It is through your stories that we can learn and continue to promote and advocate the need for more resources into improving access to sport.