Phillip Island Football Netball Club: All Abilities Round at their club

Phillip Island Football Netball Club (PIFNC) senior coach Beau Vernon reached out to the GippSport team with an idea on how he would like to increase awareness and opportunities for people living with disabilities. As senior coach of the club, Beau wanted to make a difference within the local community and showcase what PIFNC has to offer and how as a club they could support more PwD to enjoy the community grassroots sports club.

Beau is a quadriplegic—and coaches from a wheelchair—having sustained a serious neck injury whilst playing football, and said he knows how valuable it is for football clubs to be inclusive and understands some of the difficulties that people living with a disability can encounter.

“Initially, in the early stages of dealing with my injury and recovery, I had some tough moments where I thought I was less of a person or I thought to myself, what’s the point?”

“Getting involved in football again was a turning point for me, and I realised that I could still lead a fulfilling life and active life despite my disability.”

The Story of Phillip Island Football Netball Club

The PIFNC competes within the West Gippsland Football Netball Club with both football and netball teams participating. The club prides itself on inclusion for all, with senior coach Beau Vernon using his lived experience of disability to help lead the way with the backing of his home club.

Beau saw an opportunity to engage the Gippsland and wider community, with the idea to host an All Abilities Day at their club featuring a morning tea meet and greet with their senior players, football and netball come and try sessions with club coaches and players. During the club’s Round 7 match Vs Dalyston there were fantastic outcomes for all involved.

All participants on the day received free footballs thanks to Footys4All, a Free PIFNC hoodies thanks to sponsorship from Interact Australia to assist with a sense of community club belonging and an open invitation to come along to any future trainings and matches.

PIFNC players, volunteers and coaches were engaged to support the day hosting the netball and football-based activities. These activities are a great way to increase awareness and understanding for people living with disabilities, and an opportunity to showcase what PwD can participate in and achieve.

How Phillip Island Football Netball Club engaged with the GippSport team

After Beau reached out to GippSport in March, the GippSport team was able to support the initiative by:

Creating the poster and registration details for the day.

Promoting the event through our networks and ensured registered participants were provided with the appropriate information required.

Providing advice for proposed format of the event.

Assisting with game day running on May 21 and provided follow up information after the day.

Why Phillip Island Football Netball Club chose to work with Our Team

After connecting with our Bass Coast GippSport Program Coordinator for help and support, Beau and the club wanted a partnership to host their first All Abilities event and build a relationship to see how this initiative can get more PwD involved at their club.

As the regional sports assembly in Gippsland we are funded to encourage those living with a disability to get more active so PIFNC saw us as a key partner for their idea.

Our coordinator identified that inviting participants in could lead to many ongoing connections.  There is the possibility of participating in football or netball, volunteering at the club or being a spectator and supporter of the BULLDOGS.   

📷  Photos by Carol Ratcliff 

Outcomes from the day

Apart from a fantastic day which allowed participants the chance to come n try some football and netball clinics, many connections were made that will be long lasting.  Participants enjoyed feeling like they belonged to the club and can look to be involved as a player, volunteer, spectator and supporter.  Many positive remarks came from participants with our favorites being “that was the best day of my life”  and “I will definitely be back again!”

The opportunity for PIFNC netballers, footballers and the wider community to engage with PwD was also highlighted as a positive.  Giving them the opportunity to engage on a personal level makes our club and community more inclusive and welcoming of all. 

Work with GippSport

Are you interested in partnering with us to create physical activity opportunities for Gippsland People with a Disability?

Call us on 5176 3020 or email info@gippsport.com.au

If you would like to learn more about our Access of All Ability work, visit: gippsport.com.au/access-for-all-abilities

📷 Photos by Carol Ratcliff 

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