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2018 Year in Review

  Happy holidays from the team at Inclusive Sport SA.

What a year it has been for our organisation, our members and, as a whole, a good year for sport and recreation in South Australia. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our members, partners and stakeholder for your support throughout 2018.

The last 12 months has been both challenging and exciting in equal measure as we continue to transition to Rapidswim services from state funding to the NDIS; introduced a new Sport Therapy service to the business and secured funding to implement what we hope will be a reflective game changer for best practices of inclusion in sport throughout the state. As an advocacy organisation, stakeholder relationships with government departments, service providers and sport organisations play an integral role in helping us to deliver on our promise to build inclusive communities through sport and recreation.

Our close partnership with the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR) continues to be an important relationship for the business in 2018. I would like to mention ORSR executive staff Kylie Taylor, Ilia Houridis and Cheryl Barnett who always make themselves available to sound board our business’ planning, advocacy and discussions with the sector. The 2018 March State election saw a change in Government and as such, a change of Minsters in the Disability/Human Services and Recreation, Sport and Racing portfolios. I welcome Minister Lensink (Human Services) and Minister Wingard (Recreation, Sport and Racing) to their new portfolios and I look forward to working with them into the future. I would also wish to thank both outgoing Ministers, the Hon Katrine Hildyard (Disabilities) and Hon Leon Bignell (Recreation and Sport) for their support over the years.

Inclusive Sport SA continues to deliver our Supported Sports Program (SSP) including AFL, Netball, Indoor Cricket, Rowing and Lawn Bowls. Each year we bring these sports in partnership with community sport organisations and help our members to build friendships and networks in their wider community. The program is going through significant changes due to the NDIS roll-out and we continue to seek innovative ways to ensure its survival. In August, I was pleased to announce an innovative partnership with the SANFL to second Nathan Pepper to their organisation, to deliver their disability programs for fifteen months.

With Nathan’s move to Adelaide Oval, we welcomed Jose Rabet to the team in the role of Communications and Sport Inclusion Coordinator. Jose has hit the ground running with the SSP and our external communications. I am certain most of you have noticed an increase of e-news in your inbox and active social media posts, as we place a greater emphasis on maintaining open conversations and true engagement with our members and stakeholders.

South Australian state representative teams again made SA proud in 2018. The state football team, led by Coach Don Miranda, took home silver at the AFL National Inclusion Carnival; while in netball, the SA Rubies played a stellar championship for the Marie Little OAM shield. Whilst the Rubies team unfortunately did not take home the gold in the Grand Final, the opportunity to play as the opener for the Australian Diamonds game that day is sure to be something the players, or coaching staff, will ever forget. Indoor and outdoor cricket, futsal and basketball also had a good year with SA teams in corresponding National Championship, with the SA cricketers taking home the Gold. Thank you to all of the administration and volunteer coaching staff, players’ families/caregivers and support workers who have helped and supported the SA sporting teams, and players, on their road to national competition.

The Supported Sports Program saw a great year for local sport. In the most nail-biting of Grand Finals the C6 Netball game went down to the wire with Central Districts becoming back to back champions in extra time against a tenacious Contax team. In a year of back to back titles Eastern Park once again claimed the Premiers title of the C7 Football Division after meeting last year’s rivals the Goodwood Saints once again in the Grand Final. The Indoor Cricket program saw a number of new participants as the competition grew to five teams and introduced a bye round for players. The season one Premiers were the Blue Sharks with the Green Machine proving victorious in season two. The Indoor Rowing and Lawn Bowls groups continued to meet with a focus on fitness and social sporting activities for both participants and their families. We would like to thank all our volunteer coordinators, coaches, managers and venue staff for another fantastic year of sport.

The Marie Little OAM Athlete Support Program (MLASP) continues to assist local, State and National athletes who are living with intellectual disability, with financial costs to fulfil their sporting dreams and aspirations. I would like to make a special mention and express our deepest gratitude to The Advertiser Foundation and their Patron Angela Condous who we are fortunate enough to be a beneficiary each year. In 2018 the MLASP received a donation of $8500 from the event. Thank you also to Volleyball SA for the donation to MLASP from their ‘Inclusive round’ and MGA Insurance for their kind donation. This year the MLASP provided financial support to the following recipients: Basketball SA’s Ivor Burge Men’s and Women’s teams, the SANFL Inclusive Football Team, the Netball SA Rubies Netball Team the Football Federation SA Futsal Team, the South Australian Cricket Association’s Lord’s Taverners Indoor Cricket Team and individual football player Chris Woolley.

In May, we hosted our sixth successful Inclusion and Diversity in Sport Conference (IDS18) at Adelaide Oval, and were lucky to enlist the last minute assistance of Katrina Ranford to deliver the IDS18 event; after the year of hard work by Inclusion Advisor Stephanie McNeil who left the organisation in April to return to secondary school teaching. This year’s event saw the first inaugural IDS Awards to recognise individuals and groups across Australia leading the way in inclusive practices in sport and recreation. In its first year, we received over fifteen nominations per category from across Australia, proving that as a nation sport and recreational clubs are investing time to inclusive opportunities and engaging people from a variety of backgrounds. Congratulations to the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) in taking home two of the three awards, and Dr Sam Elliot named Champion of Inclusion.

Shortly after the completion of IDS18, we successfully secured a $530,000 Information Linkages and Capacity (ILC) grant from the NDIS to drive capacity building within the sport and recreation sector. The ILC project aims to create the necessary infrastructure and platforms to facilitate knowledge sharing amongst the sector to produce a collective of information that illustrates true inclusive participation opportunities for both organisations and individuals alike.

With a knowledge of our organisation and established relationships within the sport sector Katrina Ranford joined Inclusive Sport SA as General Manager Sector Engagement to lead the project and work with the industry to promote inclusive initiatives that can benefit all. Six months into the two-year project, we have built a solid foundation for the venture to move forward. This includes a very exciting initiative for Inclusive Sport SA, the introduction of the new Participant Advisory Group (PAG). This self-driven group of remarkable athletes will form the first sport sector advisory group of its kind to provide insight on contemporary issues directly from those it matters most to. In 2019, keep an eye out for project tasks coming to fruition, including the construction of a best practises online hub, video campaign and announcement of our members that make up the PAG strengthening our position as a business as a leader of inclusive best practices within the sector nationally.

The popular Rapidswim service continued to operate throughout 2018. While there were a few difficulties faced by many of our families in the transition to the NDIS, our program therapists and staffs delivered an engaging and well received program to both new and continuing members. The Rapidswim Aquatic Therapy program continues to be successful, however needs to actively evolve as the NDIS is rolled out. Under the guidance of our Rapidswim Manager, Bianca Dubois, and with the hard work of its Coordinator, Brigitte Neubauer-Cooke, the program has started to investigate new delivery models and ways to support more families with a greater level of service. With the addition of the ARC program and the Hampstead Saturday Aquatic Therapy program, Rapidswim saw its participant numbers increase to its highest level in two years, a positive end to the year.

The Rapidswim Carnival for our Learn to Swim participants is always a highlight in the calendar and an event that is enjoyed equally by the swimmers, spectators and staff. This year was no exception and we were very fortunate to have our Rapidswim instructors Claire, Sam, Jakob, Melissa, Danita and Colette attend to provide support to our competitors in the water. I would like to thank the financial support of Bendigo Bank, without which we would not be able to hold the carnival and to Board Members form the West Beach Branch, who came along to cheer on the Swimmers throughout the carnival.

Inclusive Sport SA are working on strategies to change the business models of the Rapidswim program to ensure it can survive and thrive in an NDIS world. To assist streamline our business practises with regard to the NDIS, Gretchen Rosenberg was brought into the team as NDIS Service Coordinator. Gretchen has worked with the NDIS and our participants as a key go to person to alleviate some of the stress faced by our families, ensure timely payment of services and provide support to the Rapidswim team.

In October we launched a new Sports Therapy, Positive Behaviour service (PBS) that aims to improve the quality of life and self-esteem of participants through the inclusion of sports and fitness based activities into their life. Natalie Montgomery joined the team in the role of Sport Therapist to deliver the service to young people with a disability aged between 6-18 years who live are experiencing challenging behaviours. Facilitating two ‘PBS Taster’ sessions over the last few months, each session had good attendance and mix of both parents and professionals. The sessions were aimed at parents and carers of young people with a disability, and designed to give participants an introduction to PBS strategies. Feedback from both sessions was overwhelmingly positive, with people commenting that the sessions were informative and interactive, with a good use of sports analogies. We hope to expand the uptake of this service in the coming years and look forward to revealing exciting news with its members in 2019 as we introduce a new service added to our repertoire.

At a strategic level, I am fortunate to have active contributors on our Board and I would like to thank all Inclusive Sport SA Directors for their invaluable support to the organisation and to me. Following the 2018 Annual General Meeting, Sue Wundenberg was voted in as Chair of the Board, filling the vacancy left by departing Chair Darren Steele, after five years of service. Sue was the obvious choice for the position, with excellent credentials across strategic planning, management and governance and I look forward to working with Sue moving forward. I would like to take this opportunity to thank departing Chairperson Darren Steele for his obvious passion for inclusion and diversity and offering insightful leadership to our organisation and the sector during his time as Chairperson. I will miss his guidance and leadership. I would also like to acknowledge departing Directors David Calvert and Life Member Colleen Bennett.

Our Life Members continue to be a valuable asset to our Association and we welcomed Brad Bettens to the fold after his significant contribution on the playing field and advocacy and mentorship off the field. Despite being in his twenties and as the youngest of our Life Members, Brad is a well deserving recipient and I look forward to watching what he will set out to achieve next, and the positive impact this has on our community.

In June, we were saddened to lose one of our long serving Life Members Grace Tucker. Grace was a tremendous supporter of inclusive sports and dedicated more than twenty years coaching the Newton Jaguars C6 team. She was one of the original parents who assisted Marie Little OAM to start the netball competition and (now C6) when Inclusive Sport SA first started in the 1980’s.

An organisation is only as strong as the staff involved, and the Inclusive Sport SA team is a great example of a resilient and cohesive unit that I count myself as fortunate to lead. Our staff including Bianca, Brigitte, Gretchen, Jose, Katrina, Nat and our Aquatic Therapy Instructors continue to deliver the positive community impact that the organisation sees today. I can honestly say that our entire team prescribes to the notion of true collaboration, trust and vision – driven by a commitment to develop relationships, partnerships, and nurturing the confidence to allow ideas to grow organically.

In saying this, I would like to express my deepest thanks to each member of my staff for their support, dependability and unswayed effort as we strive for each individual to play a role in sport and recreation and have a positive impact on society. I sincerely wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season as we look upwards and onwards to 2019. It’s shaping up to be an outstanding year for Inclusive Sport SA. Watch this space! Stay safe and see you in 2019. John Cranwell