Disability Action Week kicks off at Ballymore

Sep 12 • General News, International • 1063 Views • Comments Off on Disability Action Week kicks off at Ballymore

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Disability Action Week celebrations kicked off this morning at Ballymore Stadium, home of the Queensland Rugby Union and the St.George Queensland Reds, to help promote the inclusion of people with disability in the sporting community.

Disability Services Minister Coralee O’Rourke said this year’s theme ‘Inclusion: it’s a game changer’ aimed to promote the participation of people with disability in sport, as celebrations aligned with the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

“I am excited to see sporting organisations, like the Queensland Rugby Union, fostering inclusive programs which encourage young people with disability to get involved,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“The Queensland Rugby Union have an excellent disability inclusion policy, and have put theory into action through the Modified Rugby Program (MRP),” she said.

“Piloted in 2014 and delivered in partnership with the GingerCloud Foundation, the MRP enables young people with learning and perceptual difficulties to play Rugby at their local club, with the support of an on-field mentor.

“There are now six clubs across Brisbane and Toowoomba who have embraced the MRP, and I hope to see more get on board or introduce their own disability inclusion policy.

“People with disability can achieve amazing things – such as winning a gold medal at the Paralympics – if given the opportunity, and should be supported to participate in and contribute to all levels of sport.”

Queensland Rugby Union Head of Diversity and Pathways Joel Johnston said the ethos of Rugby Union was every player was welcome and valuable, no matter their shape, size or ability.

“The sense of belonging the values of Rugby promotes, and the lifelong friendships developed from participating in a sport through a club, is an experience all young people and their families should experience,” Johnston said.

“The MRP is just one of the aspects of our overall Disability Inclusion Strategy at the QRU.

“Outside of these essential programs and policy developments, we also ensure our community Rugby staff undergo disability awareness training each year and we currently employ our first school-based trainee with disability.”

Redlands Rugby Club President Keith Taylor runs the MRP at his club and said the opportunity to host the program this year was too good to miss.

“I am so proud to see our young teenage boys become player mentors and watch them develop over the last year into fine young men,” Mr Taylor said.

“The relationships formed between players, mentors and families is one of the highlights for me in this program and I would encourage any club given the opportunity to grab it with both hands.”

Disability Action Week will be held from 11–17 September, aiming to empower people with disability, raise awareness of disability issues, and improve access and inclusion throughout the community.

The Palaszczuk Government has allocated $140,000 in grants to support more than 100 applicants host a range of events across the state, which will help to spread this message

A series of Disability Action Week videos are available to promote inclusion of people with disability in sport. To watch the video featuring the Queensland Rugby Union and Redlands Modified Rugby Program, go to www.qld.gov.au/daw

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