Who We Are

Report - 2023

Annual General Meeting
Thursday 9 November 2023

Acknowlegement of Country

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.

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 7th year.

This year we developed our new Strategy Plan 2023-2025, with the five key pillars outlining SAF’s priorities being:

  1. Performance Pathways – supporting those on the high performance pathway
  2. Research Programs – including how sport impacts well-being and improves outcomes with education
  3. Partnerships and Engagements – including alignment with a University to provide scholarships
  4. Leadership and Mentoring – including mentors to support them through their education
  5. Social equity – closing the gaps on access to sport, education and well-being support

Our Mission

Sport Access Foundation aims to improve the quality of lives of children living with a disability through the opportunity to play sport.

SAF’s objectives are consistent with the Australian Government’s Sport 2030 National Sport Plan commitment, that ‘Every Australian, at all stages of their life regardless of gender, ability or ethnicity, and no matter where they live, are able to undertake the exercise they need and want in a safe, fun and inclusive way, whether it is through sport or other types of activity’.1

SAF’s work also supports Sport Australia’s position on physical literacy, namely ‘developing knowledge and behaviours that give children the motivation and confidence to enjoy active lifestyles. Establishing active habits in children sets them on the path to happier and healthier lives paving the way for a more productive Australia’.2

  • Sport Australia | Sport 2030 - National Sport Plan - view source
  • Sport Australia | Position Statement on Physical Literacy - view source

2023 Grants Program

This year we offered $19,000 in sporting grants across four grant categories including as below. We had over 130 applications and across Australia with a range of disability and sports.

  • No Barriers – aged 7-12 years $500 x 8
  • Kick Start – aged 13-17 years $1,000 x 4
  • Pathway to Paralympics – aged 13-17 years $1,500 x 2
  • Sporting Club Grants – all registered sporting clubs $2,000 x 4

Meet the 2023 Sport Access Foundation grantees:

Compeat Performance Pathway to Paralympics Grant – aged 13-17 years $1,500 x 2

  • Grace Brimelow - 16 years From: Woombye QLD, Kabi Kabi (Gabi Gabi) and Jinibara Land Sport: Para-triathlon Disability: Physical Disability
  • Brody Velthuis - 14 years From: Capalaba QLD, Quandamooka Sport: Triathlon Disability: Vision Impairment

BlueScope Sporting Club Grant - all registered sporting clubs  $2,000 x 4

  • Victorian Blind Cricket Association - Kooyong VIC, Wurundjeri Country Sport: Blind Cricket Disability: Vision Impairment
  • Goalball Western Australia - Victoria Park WA, Noongar Country Sport: Goalball Disability: Vision Impairment
  • Sutherland Shire Water Polo Association - Sutherland NSW, Tharawal Sport: Water Polo Disability: Intellectual Disability & Autism
  • South East Queensland Wheelchair Rugby League - Brendale QLD, Turrball Country Sport: Wheelchair Rugby League  Disability: Physical Disability

No Barriers Grant – aged 7-12 years $500 x 8

  • Alexander Blyth - 11 years From: Nowra NSW, Tharawal Country Sport: Boccia, South Coast Stingrays Disability: Physical Disability
  • Matilda Chesterton - 12 years From: Newington NSW, Eora Country Sport: Boccia, Wheelchair Fencing, NSW Fencing Association Disability: Physical Disability
  • Rowan Gillam - 10 years From: Forest Lake QLD, Yuggera Country Sport: Athletics, Toowoong Harriers Disability: Vision Impairment
  • Huntar Gittus - 12 years From: Gagebrook TAS, Paredarerme Country Sport: Judo, Clarence PCYC Disability: Intellectual Disability & Autism
  • Scarlet Hope - 11 years From: Kinross WA, Whadjuk Country Sport: Gymnastics Disability: Autism
  • Cooper Smith - 13 years From: Tamworth NSW, Kamilaroi Country Sport: Swimming Disability: Cerebral Palsy
  • Jacinta Thew - 13 years From: Eora Country Sport: Fencing, Fencing Academy NSW Disability: Physical Disability
  • Tahlee Cam - 12 years From: Kaniyang Country Sport: Swimming, Australind Swimming Club Disability: Autism

Kick Start Grant - aged 13-17 years $1,000 x 4

  • Alexis Kalofonos - 10 years From: Pacific Pines QLD, Yugambeh Country Sport: Baseball, Athletics, Karate Disability: Cerebral Palsy
  • Mia Kertesz - 13 years From: Pine Mountain QLD, Yuggera Country Sport: Athletics, Colleges Cross Little Athletics and Ipswich & District Athletics Club Disability: Physical Disability, Achondroplasia
  • Jordan Mouritz - 16 years From: Clarkson WA, Whadjuk Country Sport: Wheelchair Basketball Disability: Physical Disability, Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT)
  • Angus Murrie - 16 years From: Carnegie VIC, Wurundjeri Country Sport: Triathlon - Inclusive Sports Training Disability: Physical Disability

Grant Announcement at Griffith University

For the first time since 2018 we have secured the opportunity to hold an event to announce our 2023 Grant Recipients. This event will be held on Friday 17 November at the Griffith University Gold Coast Campus. Over 50 industry stakeholders and sporting executives as well as current and past grant recipients (Honour Roll Members) attending. Michael Dobbie-Bridges PLY is the event host. We will also have Col Pearse, dual Paralympian and Commonwealth Games Australian Dolphin Team Member attend to share his insights of being awarded the inaugural Sport Access Foundation grant in 2017.

Fundraising Partners

In 2023, we had a number of organisations reach out to us and we supported and engaged with them on their fundraising for Sport Access Foundation:

  • The late Maria Cummins
  • Jacob Holt – Exco
  • BASC – Brendyn Appleby Strength and Conditioning
  • Michael Dobbie-Bridges PLY
  • Stuart Park Primary School 
  • Starfish Triathlon Fitness

We are often approached by young Australians around the country who hear about us and find us online. These young advocates are passionate and their enthusiasm for our cause validates the importance of our work and the link we have with many who want to help us achieve Our Mission.

Ozzie For Kids Founder Scott Richmond and Dylan Bray had chosen Sport Access Foundation (SAF) as one of two charities (along with Fair Game Australia) to donate the funds raised from Scott Richmond’s incredible World Record attempt.

Scott dribbled a soccer ball for 42km a day, over 7 days, from Canberra to Sydney, covered 337km, arriving in Sydney for the Matildas opening World Cup match against Ireland on 23 July.
The outcome of this, was $7,388.12 for SAF. It didn’t stop there.

Waratah Education Foundation, CEO Geraldine Campbell, would learn about SAF during this World Record feat and invited SAF to submit an application for funding to support our SAF annual grants program which helps young children with disability improve their education outcomes through sport. 

The Board of the Waratah Education Foundation agreed to fund Sport Access Foundation $25,000 towards our 2024 grants program. Scott Richmond. This is all you. Thank you.

Independent Grant Selection Panel

Thank you to our 2023 Independent Panel for your time and dedication in helping us with the difficult task of selection the final recipients.

  • Rob Davies - Managing Director Head Oceania and CEO Zoggs
  • Georgia Munro - Paralympian, Australian Gliders Wheelchair Basketball, and currently doing her PhD in History and Gender Studies, Research Fellow at Griffith University
  • Fran Kelly - ABC Journalist and Broadcaster
  • Dr. Caroline Riot - Director, Games Engagement and Partnerships and Senior Lecturer, Griffith University


The Waratah Education Foundation Board agreed to Sport Access Foundation $25,000 for our 2024 grants program including:

  • 20 x 1 year Kick Start Grants $1,000
  • 10 x 1 year No Barriers Grants $500
  • Total value of $25,000
On behalf of the Sport Access Foundation Board and all the community we serve, thank you to the Waratah Education Foundation for the provision of this grant to be distributed in 2024.

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
  • Ward Keller: Legal Partner
  • Roberts & Morrow: Financial Partner
  • Zoggs Australia: Sport Product and Merchandise Partner

Industry Partners:

Since 2017 we have built our connections in Australian sport and are now listed with Sport Australia as a preferred charity and sporting organisation providing funds.

We have partnerships which are in kind understanding of shared resources with branding and content across the partners digital assets, as well as an understanding to explore and develop new engagements or reach.

  • Australian Sporting Alliance for People with Disability (ASAPD)
  • Sporting Wheelies Disabled Association 
  • Compeat Performance
  • Griffith University

Honour Roll Highlights

Keira Stephens - 2020 Pathway to Paralympics Grant

The World Para Swimming Championships was held in July and was concluded in Manchester. Keira Stephens, an athlete supported by the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS), achieved a remarkable feat. Keira Stephens secured a well-deserved 3rd place in the Women's 100m Breaststroke SB9 event, displaying exceptional skill and dedication. Her impressive performance resulted in a noteworthy time of 1 minute and 16.73 seconds. We commend Keira Stephens for her outstanding achievement at the Championships, showcasing her dedication and commitment to excellence in para-swimming.

Jack Howell - 2021 CompEat Nutrition Pathway to Paralympics Grant

Jack Howell stands as a para-triathlete of remarkable distinction, whose impressive achievements have earned him recognition and respect within the realm of para-sports.

Jack’s incredible achievements in 2023:

  • 2023 World Triathlon Para Series, Yokohana – 2nd
  • 2023 World Triathlon Para Series, Devonport – 2nd
  • 2023 Oceania Triathlon Para Championships, Stockton – 2nd

Col Pearse - 2017 Inaugural SAF Pathway to Paralympics Grant

At the 2023 World Paralympics Swimming Championships, Col Pearse delivered an outstanding performance, setting a personal best time of 1 minute and 3.46 seconds in the Men's 100m Backstroke S10 event, ultimately securing a fifth-place finish. His exceptional display at the Championships exemplified his remarkable skill and dedication. Furthermore, Pearse's overall performance in the competition was nothing short of impressive, as he also claimed a silver and a bronze medal during the meet, solidifying his status as a prominent figure in the world of Paralympic swimming.

Col is currently in training for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

Caleb Crowden - 2018 SAF Pathway to Paralympics Grant

Caleb is a celebrated Para Table Tennis Champion. He recently competed in the 2023 Table Tennis Korean Para Open. 

His results from the 2023 Tennis Karean Para Open: 

  • Initial rating: 724
  • Final rating: 719

Jamieson Leeson - 2019 SAF Pathway to Paralympics Grant

Jamieson recently competed in the Boccia World Cup which was held in Montreal. Her team took out the gold in the BC3 pairs team and she also took out the bronze in the female competition. Jamieson continues to train full-time in Boccia as she now prepares to qualify for the 2024 Paris Paralympics. The end period to qualify for the Paralympics is 31st December 2023.  

Reece Prior - 2019 Harvey Heroes SAF Grant

Reese is an accomplished athlete who currently serves as a member of both the UWA Athletics Club and the Kinetic Track Squad. She embarked on her athletic journey at the age of 12. Some of her recent notable accomplishments comprise securing a bronze medal in the T38 Long Jump event at the prestigious 2023 Australian Athletics Championships, as well as clinching bronze in the U17 Para Australian National Cross Country Championships in 2022.

Most recently, Reese won a bronze medal in the Women's T38 Long Jump at the Trinbago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games. She achieved a new personal best with an impressive distance of 3.73m, surpassing her PB of 3.61m from the Australian Junior Track and Field Championships earlier this year.

Sean Kendrick -  2019 Sport Access Foundation Equipment Grant

Sean competed in the 2023 Blind Cricket World Cup which was held in India. Within the team Sean was the star of the show with the ball, picking up 1/37. The Australian team competed against South Africa and it was a close win with Australia 7-180 20 overs and South Africa taking the win with 5-184 18.3 overs. 

Layla Sharp - 2021 CompEat Nutrition Pathway to Paralympics Grant

Layla competed at the NSW Junior Athletics titles with two gold medals, claiming victory in both the U20 T12 400m and the U17 T38 800m. Layla ran in the T12 400m, recording a personal best time, just one second off the qualifying time for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.

James Gittus - 2022 Sport Access Foundation Kick Start Grant

James Gittus participated in his inaugural National Championships, conducted in September within Queensland, as a representative of Tasmania in the sport of Judo. When James originally applied for the Sport Access Foundation Kick Start grant in 2022, he articulated precise ambitions of representing his school at the National Schools Championships in 2023. However, during the latter part of the previous year, James encountered an injury that necessitated an extensive seven-month recuperation and rehabilitation period to facilitate his return to the world of Judo. Witnessing James not only achieve but surpass his objectives is truly remarkable.

Dayna Crees - 2018 SAF Pathway to Paralympics Grant

Dayna Crees made a lasting impact at the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, which took place in July in Paris. As a recent addition to the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), Dayna embarked on her World Championship debut in the F34 category, impressing with remarkable javelin throws. Her extraordinary performance earned her a commendable fourth place, solidifying her place in the annals of history, while simultaneously establishing new records for Australia and Oceania.

Chair Advocacy and Engagements

The Chair has continued to attend major conferences and events, advocating for disability and inclusion, and sharing the story of Sport Access Foundation. In 2023 these included as below.

  • ABC News Breakfast, December 2022 – Uber refusal and accessibility challenges
  • Accessible Arts Exhibition, Feb 2023
  • 730 Report, March 2023 – Interview with Nas Campinella
  • Panel Guest Speaker – Griffith University Orientation Week
  • Guest – QLD Governor International Women’s Day
  • Radio Interview – ABC Gold Coast discussion on Equity and Access in the Community
  • Guest – 2032 Brisbane Legacy Plan
  • Keynote Speaker – Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney)
  • Guest – Book Launch Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM and Nick Marshall OAM
  • Guest – Brisbane 2032 Inclusive Conference
  • Co-Facilitator QLD Chapter – Victoria University’s Women with Disability Sport program
  • Keynote speaker – National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Keynote speaker – ARITA Annual Conference
  • Panel Member – Harvey Norman Sponsorship Announcement Paralympic Australia
  • Ambassador – Australian Sporting Alliance for People with Disability
  • Radio Interview ABC Radio Gold Coast – Continual failings of Rideshare for people with Guide Dogs
  • Radio Interview Radio National – How we can improve fitness for all people
  • Panel Member – Sporting Wheelies QLD Official new Para-sport Hub
  • Panel Member – Accessibility in the Arts Brisbane Festival
  • Panel Member – Regional Academies of Sport NSW conference
  • Co-Patron 2024 Australian Deaf Games – Launch at Newcastle City Library

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 (resigned October 2023)
  • Bernadette Murray (resigned October 2023)
  • Sarah Archer (appointed November 2023)
  • Sam Notley (appointed November 2023)

Applicants, Parents and Carers and all our Recipients

It is often the most uplifting and then the hardest days when I make calls regarding the success of applicants with the annual grants. I am always 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 and those who were not successful, thank you for sharing your goals and aspirations and I encourage you to apply again. 

I would like to thank all of you that apply, 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 willingness to share, that we can continually educate and raise awareness on the need for more resources into improving access to sport.

Katie Kelly OAM PLY

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.
Our Grants

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First Nations

Sport Access Foundation acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community.
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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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