Gymnastics Victoria's effort to be an all-inclusive sporting organisation was recognised last week at the Victorian Disability Awards held at ZINC at Federation Square.
The Victorian Disability Awards recognise and honour those who make an outstanding contribution to empower and improve the lives of people living with disabilities in Victoria.
Taking home the award for ‘Excellence in Creating Inclusive Communities’ Gymnastics Victoria were commended for building an inclusive community through various programs aiming to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Gymnastics Victoria's primary focus has been creating innovative strategies and programs that are inclusive for all members of the community.
The Honourable Martin Foley, Minister of Housing, Disability and Ageing said “There have been many outstanding achievements by those nominated this year and it’s important that we recognise how hard they’ve worked to empower people with a disability and create a more inclusive community”.
If statistics are anything to go by, Gymnastics Victoria's participation numbers have increased from 400 in 2011 to over 10,000 at the end of 2016 and a further 57 people living with disability in leadership positions.
Gymnastics Victoria Inclusions Manager Kerry Tavrou accepted the award and said “VicHealth and Sport and Recreation Victoria have been supporting us to create innovative and inclusive programs. They continue to push us to drive sustainable change”.
Tavrou further explains “The push for change needs to come from the top down and our CEO (Jamie Parsons) has been a big supporter of this and makes sure inclusion is on the agenda at every opportunity”.
Gymnastics Victoria has also developed Aerobase, a fun six session online program that introduces basic Aerobics steps into schools and group classes with moves that are suitable for people of all abilities which attracts over 5000 participants annually.
Tavrou came up with the idea of Aerobase says “I had to think of what barriers there were to prevent people with disabilities from getting involved in gymnastics and the use of equipment was one of them. So we came up with an idea to create a program that was easy and accessible where people didn’t have to use equipment".
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