Who We Are

Report - 2021

Annual General Meeting
Thursday 18 November 2021

Our Mission

Sport Access Foundation continues to deliver on Our Mission of helping Aussie Kids with a disability to play and participate in sport.

We achieve Our Mission by offering grants to Australian children with a disability, so that they have an opportunity to play and participate in sport.

A Message from our Chairperson

On behalf of the Sport Access Foundation Board I am pleased to be presenting this Chairperson’s update for our 5th year.

The continual challenges of living in a pandemic world due to COVID-19 has caused uncertainty in all our communities and has been felt particularly by our sporting clubs and competitions. 

Sport across Australia has been impacted with many on pause, and others on a stop, start scheduling. Along with significant lockdowns for Australians particularly in Victoria and NSW, our young Australians have missed out on critical interactions in sport, but also their peer engagement.

The pandemic has also changed the way we work, and in many cases the way some products and services have been delivered and experienced. This has also led to new innovations, and for those with disability, the impact of COVID has also offered more flexibility with work now offering more work from home options. Likewise in sport, Clubs and Gyms have been offering virtual programs which remove barriers relating to mobility for some.

At Sport Access Foundation we continued to deliver our annual grants program.

SAF 2021 Grants Program
Through corporate support offered over $11,000 in grants this year that were awarded to six young Australians, two sporting clubs and an innovative grants that will help to to start up an indigenous basketball team as part of the Indigenous Basketball Association, that was initially founded by Patty Mills.

On a personal note, it is with enormous relief that my high-performance career in Para-triathlon comes to an end.

To finish as a two-times Paralympian, and a Gold medal from Rio, as well as two World Championships (2015, 2017) are milestones I am very proud of, but mostly I am grateful for the opportunities these successes has given me particularly to advocate for Australians living with disability. I am also immensely honoured to now to be part of the Australian Paralympic ‘mob’ and alumni.

My focus now is Sport Access Foundation and building a career in advocacy for diversity and inclusion. I am incredibly excited of the potential for the Foundation. With 2032 now on the horizon for Australian sports, Sport Access Foundation is well placed to continually cement our position as the leading grant provider for young Australians in sport.
The Board and I are now in our best position to review and set our strategic goals, with a new business plan being prepared for 2022-2025. Our immediate, and initial goal is half million grants on offer for 2025.  

Our Partners

Founding Partner: BlueScope

BlueScope our founding partner provides significant resources for the foundation to develop and cement its position as a leading children’s sporting charity in Australian sport.

We are now working through our 2022-2025 strategic plan and there are a number of significant developments underway which BlueScope have invested in, including the development of products that will be a game-changer in para-sport.

Major Partners:

  • Tribal (DDB Group): Agency Consultant Partner
  • Tagzart Design: Web & Graphic Design Partner
  • Roberts & Morrow: Financial Partner
  • Zoggs Australia: Sport Product and Merchandise Partner

Foundation Resource Partners:

Leah Gilbert Performance + Wellbeing
  • Performance mindset counselling
  • To implement regular mentor workshops with recipients and past recipients
  • Our preferred service for applicants seeking mentor and mindset coaching
CompEat Nutrition
  • To implement regular communications to recipients on their services
  • Our preferred partner for applicants seeking nutritional support
Inclusion Alliance Australia
  • A group combining Deaf Sports, Blind Sport and Sport Inclusion Australia
  • Provide resources for SAF to share 
  • Give SAF visibility across their networks 
  • Linking SAF with new opportunities including the new to be formed ‘Disability Sporting Organisations Australia’ that includes Paralympic Australia, Riding for Disabled, Wintersport Disabled Association, Sporting Wheelies and there will be a CEO overseeing all these groups. It is possible SAF might have a seat within this structure to be the preferred sporting grant of choice
Sporting Wheelies & Disabled Association
  • Sport for people with disability

2021 Grants Program

This year we offered $11,000 in sporting grants.

These included the inaugural Casino RSM Grant to remove barriers for young indigenous girls to play sport.
Casino RSM First Nations Bundjalung Girls Grant

This grant was provided out of increasing reports, that highlight the low participation rate among our First Nations young girls and teenagers. The Sport for All Committee Report, noted comments by Professor Colin Tatz, who emphasised his concern with the disparity of funds being spent on Indigenous men and women in sport. He commented:

Let me say to you that, for every $100 that is spent on Aboriginal male sport, you are lucky if $1 is spent on women's sport.

With the investment in sport for young indigenous girls and teenagers being some of the lowest rates across all Australians, I was keen to extend our commitment to help our young First Nations girls and teenagers to have new opportunities - starting with the region of my hometown of Casino, part of Bundjalung Country. With the support of Casino RSM we were able to secure $6,000 in funding.

We awarded $5,000 to Casino Fun Run. The Casino Fun Run, utilised this funding to support and encourage the participation of First Nations youth in the Bundjalung country. The Casino Fun Run, after a two year absence, relaunched in 2022 with Eileen Byers as the Fun Run's ambassador. Eileen, grew up in nearby Tabulam, who participated in the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) which resulted to her competing in the 2015 New York City Marathon.

The program will aim to have a minimal of 50% indigenous girls participating, and include local indigenous leaders involved in the delivery of elements or all of the program.
We also provided the Sport Access Foundation Kickstart Grant for 7 to 13 year olds to help pay for Club registration fees, carer cost, extra coaching, team uniforms or travel to participate in the sport.
Sport Access Foundation Kick Start Grant

This grant was awarded to:

  • Caitlyn Hayes - Swimming, QLD
  • Liam Robinson - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, WA
  • Xavier Bramley - Swimming, VIC
  • Jasmyne Robinson - Athletics, WA
We were excited to announce a partnership with CompEAT Nutrition, a leading Australian nutrition company that services Australia’s leading sporting teams and athletes including the Matildas.
CompEat Nutrition Pathway to Paralympics Grant

As the grant naming rights, we were able to support the funding of the two $1,500 CompEAT Pathway to Paralympics Grants for 13 to 17 year olds who have started to achieve goals towards national or international competition.

This grant was awarded to:

  • Jack Howell - Paratriathlon, VIC
  • Layla Sharp - Athletics, NSW
As our Founding partner, we provided the BlueScope Sporting Club Grant.
BlueScope Sporting Club Grants

This grant was to support sporting clubs with the for new and upgraded equipment such as marquees, lights, accessible club room and restrooms, accessible technology for club digital, cost to implement programs specifically for children with a disability and / or education of club officials/coaches/volunteers on working with children with a disability.

This grant was awarded to:

  • Goalball WA - Goalball, WA
  • Ballarat Gymsports - Gymnastics, VIC
Thank you to our 2021 Independent Grant Panel 
  • Daniel Edge - Founder and Director, CompEAT Nutrition
  • Matt Clayton - Executive, Blind Sports Australia
  • Jill Noad - Executive, BlueScope
  • Erik Horrie - 2x Paralympian, Para-Rowing

Three Sport Access Foundation recipients debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Jamieson Leeson was 17 years old and starting her HSC when she applied for her grant.
Awarded in 2019, Jamieson told us that the condition she was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy type 2, meant she relies on a powered wheelchair for mobility. She told us of her ambitions in the sport of Boccia, and how she travelled 300km from her home town in Dunedoo, NSW to Sydney Olympic Park to complete her training in high performance in Boccia.

We were so proud to learn of her selection in the Tokyo Paralympic team.

Congratulations Jamieson and her team reached the semi-finals with wins against Portugal and Brazil, and the team eventually going out to Hong Kong. Jamieson on your performance in Boccia in the BC3 pairs.

Keira Stephens won Bronze in her Paralympic debut in the Women's 100m Breaststroke SB10. Keira also went on to win another Bronze in the Women's 4 x 100m Medley (34pts).

Kiera from Hervey Bay in QLD, applied for a Sport Access Foundation grant in 2020, as a 17 year old. When asked what her goal was. It was very clear:

“To be on the Australian Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020”.
Col applied for our Inaugural Sport Access Foundation Pathway to Paralympics Grant when he was 15 years old.

He told us at “26 months old I suffered a trauma following a collision with a ride on lawn mower. My right foot was severely injured and was ultimately amputated.” At the time Col was training with the Geelong Swimming Club, travelling from his parent’s dairy farm at Echuca, VIC.

“I am a swimmer, and I have been competing at national level meets for several years. Each year I compete at national meets held interstate and five state meets a year. There is significant travel involved to attend meets interstate, as well accommodation."

Col was very clear on his goal and determination to excel in his sport.

Our Board Members 

Thank you to my fellow Board Members for your continuing service to our Mission and changing lives of young Australians with a disability.
  • Grantley Creighton
  • Kristie Keast
  • Matthew Kelly
  • Martin Kelly
  • Morgan Lander
  • Andrew Martin
  • Rosey McGrath
  • Bernadette Murray

Applicants, Parents and Carers and all our Recipients

I am always honoured and humbled when I speak to many of the parents and carers for your commitment to improving the lives of not only your young child, but also the education and advocacy you do in your own way each day.

To all our applicants, it is always hard when some of you miss receiving a grant. Your passion and drive to enjoy your sport is admired and we are committed to advocating for you, and improving through our grant more opportunities and removing the barriers that still exists.

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. 

Katie Kelly OAM

Grants Program

SAF provides annual grants for children and young people with a disability. These grants can be used for any project that helps to build participation in sport.
Learn More

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Sport Access Foundation acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
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