GippSport wins award at 2021 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards

Regional Sport Victoria recently met up with GippSport to chat about the success of their All Abilities Physical Activity Challenge after receiving the 2021 VicHealth Initiative of the Year – Active Recreation award. 

Over the last 2 years, numerous sport and recreation events have been cancelled due to COVID-19. With tough restrictions in place being physically active has become more challenging and limited, particularly for People with a Disability (PwD).  

After not being able to run face to face programs and seeing a significant increase in inquires of what was available for PwD to stay active and involved in the community, GippSport developed the All Abilities Physical Activity Challenge. The aim of the challenge? To encourage participants to be active in a range of ways while being inclusive and accessible. 

Gippsland covers a wide area and it takes about 6 hours to travel across. With inclusivity and accessibility at the for front of the project GippSport had to find a new platform online. Unsure whether the GippSport website and Facebook page was the right platform to host the challenge due to remoteness and accessibility of internet, they adapted it by creating a dedicated webpage with information and supporting resources on how to register and participate. They also provided the opportunity for schools and disability providers to register and record on behalf of participants. 

Across 2 challenges GippSport had:

over 500 participants

with 13 Disability Support Services and Specialist Schools across Gippsland involved

At the end of the challenge each participant received a certificate and medallion as a reward for their involvement and achievements. These were sent out in the mail due to restrictions. Specialist Schools and Disability Support Services were also provided the opportunity to win a $200 sports voucher if they had 5 or more participants. This ensured that more equipment could be purchased, and participants could continue the sport at the school or service until they could go and access local clubs and facilities. 

GippSport’s key focus in the Access All Abilities space is that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in every sport. There are always modifications that can be made to rules, equipment, or the environment in which one is participating in.

As part of fostering the opportunity to being active, GippSport also had the ‘Gippsland Championsalongside the challenge. A key focus was having ambassadors from a range of areas that could then become leaders in their community. These ambassadors encourage PwD, friends and families to get involved and participate. Some champions were even supported by GippSport staff to be involved in TV and Radio interviews. 

With exceeding the number of participants expected GippSport have received plenty of positive feedback. Since the Sport and Recreation sector has started to open again GippSport have been able to connect PwD to clubs and programs to continue being active.  

Making the top 3 and winning the award out of 31 nominations is a great recognition for GippSport. A lot of time and effort has been put into the program and on behalf of the Regional Sport Victoria network we congratulate the GippSport Team! 

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