Activities and Programs

To enable greater participation by people with disability activities and programs should be made accessible. This means breaking down barriers associated with equipment, costs and transport where they exist.

It also means thinking about the nature of your sport and how you can design or modify activities to make them more accessible. This might include the speed at which participates play, the equipment they use, the way coaches and players communicate, the size of the playing area, or how people with different shape and size physique can participate in the one activity.

Vicsport created a video about designing accessible programs:

A notable example of a program that was designed with Universal Design Principles in mind is Gymnastics Victoria’s Aerobase program. Watch the video here.

Basketball Victoria’s Walking Basketball program is a great example of how sport can tailor programs to make them more accessible for people of all ages, genders and abilities.

Breaking down Barriers

There a few common barriers to participation which people with disability may face. Helping to address these barriers will make your sport more accessible and may result in an increase in participation.

Your organisation can help people participate by offering financial assistance, where needed. This may be enabled by a grant you receive from the state government, your local council, or your State Sporting Association. It is very important to ensure you are equal in your approach. Financial assistance should be available for all who need it. A universal approach to providing financial support means there is less chance of stigmatising particular groups and ensures a greater take up of support from those who would otherwise not participate due to financial barriers. You might also consider providing variable fee structures for different activities, or staggered payments for memberships, thereby providing greater flexibility for interested participants. If your organisation is hosting an event you may need to hire an Auslan interpreter to ensure that event is accessible to anyone with a hearing impairment.

During the State Sporting Association Participation Program, Basketball Victoria provided grants to affiliated associations to assist them to become more inclusive. This was found to be a very successful program in enabling basketball associations to increase participation by people with disability. You can read more about the BV grants program here.

People with disability may face a barrier of being able to afford equipment, especially where the activity involved wheelchairs or other modified forms of equipment that are expensive to purchase. Your organisation might provide modified equipment for temporary use or hire. You could also provide financial assistance to individuals who need support. Participants might already receive support to access sporting opportunities through the NDIS or a disability service provider

The Sport and Recreation Victoria Sporting Club Grants Program provides grants to assist in the purchase of sports uniforms and equipment and to improve the capacity and accessibility of Victorian clubs and other community sport and recreation organisations and increase the skills of their coaches, officials and managers.

You can also partner with Disability Sport & Recreation who provide an adaptive equipment library to help people with disability play more sport. In regional Victoria, the nine Regional Sports Assemblies provide support to people with disability to connect with local sport clubs and sporting opportunities.

You should consider how your sport can provide pathways for people with disability. There is no one size fits all approach. Whether or not the activity is integrated into the traditional or mainstream aspects of a sport is a decision that can be made on a case by case basis and should always be done in consultation with people with disability and with their best interests in mind. An important principle for including everyone from the community in sport is choice. People have the right to choose how they participate in sport. This means providing different options and allowing individuals to decide the pathway that is right for them.

There are some great examples in Victoria of partnerships that have helped to create a new pathway for participation in sport. These include:

Tennis Victoria & Blind Sports Victoria – Junior Blind Tennis ProgramCricket Victoria – Melbourne All Abilities Cricket AssociationBasketball Victoria Inclusion Programs

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides support for many people with disability to access community support services and activities to achieve their individual goals. The NDIS provides support via disability service providers which are non-government organisations that work with both government and non-government partners to support and enhance the lives of people with disability.

While the NDIS does not fund individual club memberships or participation costs for people with disability. Rather, it is a service that can more likely to provide funding to an individual to assist in them to accessing mainstream services, including sport and recreation. Sport organisations that are accessible, welcoming and inclusive of people with disability are well placed to support people who access the NDIS.

The NDIS can provide funding to community organisations through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Grants.