A club is a great place for all people to come together.
Clubs offer so much more to the community than a sport experience. Members can enjoy a sense of belonging, develop social networks and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately people with a disability are often underepresented in sports clubs, unless the club offers a specialised program or an ‘all abilities’ team. There are however other ways to include people with a disability in your club without running a specialised program. This will lead to your club being an inclusive environment with a greater supporter and volunteer base that reflects the richness and diversity of the general community.
Not all disabilities are obvious or visible. People with learning disabilities, autism, vision impairment, hearing impairment, chronic illness or pain or neurological conditions are common across the community. Regardless of whether the disability is obvious or not, you should never assume the support needs and/or capacity of the individual. The best thing you can do is ask what someone needs.
Have the conversation
What can we do as a club to be a champion club for all people?
Does your club cater for people who don’t want to play competitively but would like the health benefits of training? A social membership could offer an additional revenue stream. It could be a training only program with occasional ‘friendlies’ with other teams in the area. Make contact with other clubs who have teams of people with a disability to set up a game.
Does your club have facilities for community groups who support people with disabilities as a venue to hire during the day at low peak time. Having the conversation in your club on how to do things differently to attract diverse population groups may;
-support more volunteers participation
- develop community relations
- provide more opportunities for increased sponsorship/access to funding grants and greater media exposure
- Increased confidence and skills for all club members when interacting with diverse community members.
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