Developing all communities.
The Sport and Community Development team at Inclusion WA have had a busy year working in conjunction with over 10 different local governments throughout metro and regional WA. This work has also involved working alongside 25 schools, 10 State Sporting Associations and over 50 local clubs and groups.
In working with this wide variety of stakeholders, Inclusion WA has developed many initiatives and projects designed to build capacity and develop more inclusive and welcoming communities. One such initiative is the community open days, which in total have seen in excess of 5000 participants, volunteers and coaches. These days, run in conjunction with local government areas, allow people of all abilities and backgrounds to discover what is available to them in their local community and how they can be better connected. However, it’s not just the successful outcomes that occur on the day of these events that are the main priority for the partnerships between Inclusion WA and local governments; it’s what goes on behind the scenes that ensures a successful result.
In the lead up to community open days, our staff concentrate on building strong relationships with all participating local community organisations, clubs and groups, not to mention the residents. By developing the capacity of these existing assets, Inclusion WA staff is able to develop sustainable opportunities for everyone to access their local community.
Another example of the team’s work within the metro area is the partnership with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and the City of Swan. Throughout the extensive consultation process it was obvious there was a need to better link people - in particular those within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) - to local sporting clubs, recreational activities, the arts and organisations working in the area. This was made all the more important with the NDIS coming into action early next year. After 12 months the Sport and Community Development team has helped to better educate over 300 community members and NDIS participants on what is available to them when setting goals with the new initiative.
The needs and challenges of each individual community differ vastly and this is no more evident than in the work within regional areas. Breaking down the barriers and forming strong working relationships within the communities allows us to identify the focus for education and support on community accessibility.
The ongoing work with Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Toodyay in particular has seen a significant culture shift not only in the accessibility of the communities but also their wellbeing. Each community has recorded positive outcomes as a result of the ongoing work and partnership support; these have included a major decrease in antisocial behaviour, a 150% increase in registrations to one of the local swimming clubs and a greater participation rate of the Kidsport initiative. These achievements have all had a massive impact on their respective communities.
The team has seen great results within all the communities they've worked with, both metro and regional. With the work continuing into 2016, we look forward to another prosperous year helping communities strengthen and build on their internal assets in a bid to create sustainable, welcoming and inclusive communities.
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Unlike most occupations, being a Mentor at Inclusion WA is hard to define.
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Denise Dodson is a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant and Self-Manager.