A Department of Health grant has enabled Down Syndrome QLD to proceed with a “Inclusive Community Sports Program” pilot across the state.
The organisation (DSQ) will develop, pilot and evaluate a social inclusion program and accompanying resource kit, that will increase opportunities for people with Down syndrome (DS) and their families to participate in sport and physical activity and increase community belonging. The program has been funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health – Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity Program.
The program will educate local sport and physical activity providers (clubs, coaches and volunteers) to increase their capability to deliver accessible, inclusive programs that meet the needs of people with DS and other intellectual disabilities. The initiative will be modelled on a successful program in the UK whereby organisations partner with local sport & physical activity providers to increase their capability to deliver flexible, inclusive programs.
The program aims to reduce barriers and challenges experienced by members of the Down Syndrome community in accessing sport and physical activities along with increasing the participation of children, youth and young adults with DS in community based sport.
The pilot will be trialled and evaluated in selected metropolitan & regional clubs, initially in swimming, football & athletics.
DSQ CEO Darryl Steff said, “Successful completion and evaluation of the pilot will result in a comprehensive, inclusive training and support model, able to be replicated and implemented in other grass-roots sport and recreation settings across Queensland and potentially Australia”.
This program will run over the next two and a half years.