We are delighted to announce
that Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia
(RDAA) and the Australian Pony Club Council (APCC) have
been awarded funding for the Australian Sports Commission
(ASC) and the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) through
Project Connect. Project Connect stands for Creating Opportunities
Nationally through Networks in Education, Classification
and Training. Funding will be used for both organisations
to work together to develop pathways and opportunities
for riders with a disability within their sports at all
Full Media Release (pdf)
Action Plan (Word)
Project Connect is an
ASC initiative focused on assisting sports nationally
to plan for inclusion of people with disability
to take part in sport and how to manage participant
involvement from a practical point of view through
the development of a Disability Action Plan.
The ASC is aiming this new initiative at Sports
rather than organisations within sports encouraging
organisations within sports to come together and
submit a combined Disability Action Plan.
Specific focus areas for Project Connect are:
Disability education – the delivery
of sport specific disability education and training
modules at the local level.
Accreditation – The training of accredited
sport specific coaches and officials.
Classification – The establishment
of a sport specific classifier recognition program.
Athlete support – The provision of
administrative and technical support for the classified
a copy of this file as a Word document
On the 19th of August 2004 Gillian Thompson-Rogers
from RDAA and Stephen Coffey PCA attended a workshop on
Project Connect. At the completion of the
meeting the ASC made several encouraging comments about
RDA's and PCA's commitment to work together on this project.
During the workshop Stephen Coffey asked if it was an
expectation of the ASC that organisations within sports
would integrate. Following discussion Gillian
Thompson-Rogers responded that her interpretation was
not that RDA would look to become pony club or that pony
club would look to provide the service currently being
provided by RDA. Rather it was that both organisations
would 'hold hands' to develop a relevant and simple disability
action plan that would allow people with disability to
participate in the programme that was best suited to their
needs. It was recognised that some participants
may start riding with RDA, move to pony club and then
back to RDA to compete at a National or International
level. This view point was accepted by all in attendance.
Project Connect is focused on inclusion of participants
with disability right across the spectrum of sporting
activities. Project Connect provides funding for a two
year programme however emphasis in on long term sustainability
of introduced initiatives.
There is a 3 Staged process to develop a Disability Action
Preparation Sports will be in the box seat for inclusion
into the Project Connect programme. Only National Sporting
Organisations can lodge a submission.
Bronze start up level
To obtain bronze status, NEO's are required to conduct
an audit to assess where the sport is currently in terms
of provision of services for people with disability in
regard to systems and programmes.
The other requirement is the commitment from NSO CEOS
through a public launch statement regarding the organisations
commitment towards inclusion of people with disability.
Project Connect Case Managers will assist NSO's to develop
Disability Action Plan for submission. Disability
action plans are then submitted to the sports commission.
Once approved, $40,000 in funding is released to the sport.
The ASC recommends that sports keep the plan simple and
Focus on do less and do it properly.
Build on the base line set up in the first year and
set up Sustainable action plan
Submit action plan to a National Panel external to the
Sports Commission, who then make a recommendation to the
$60,000.00 funding is released to the sport on approval.
Is awarded at the end of the second year when sports
have achieved the objectives of the disability action
plan. After this point the sports commission backs away
and the sport takes on the responsibility of managing
the plan going forward.
Each sport is reassessed each two years to establish
that the sport is continuing successfully managing the
action plan and is still worthy of the Gold Standard insignia.
The main Focus of the ASC is on sustainability.
Once gold status has been achieved the Disability Action
Plan will be lodged with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity
We would be looking to put forward the joint submission
between PCA and RDA for inclusion in the project at bronze
level from the 1/7/05. This allows sufficient time for
representatives from RDA and PCA to meet with a Project
Connect Case Manager and develop a relevant and achievable
Disability Action Plan.
Importantly the ASC outlined that it was their expectation
that National bodies would do their best to be inclusive
of all member States, however recognised that changes
should not be enforced, but rather encouraged.
Available Support Resources
Preparation Sports are provided with a Project Connect
Case Manager provided to assist the sport to work towards
The ASC DEP (Disability Education Programme) supports
Project Connect and the development of a disability action
plan. The DEP is used as a development
tool for each sport. The DEP recognises the Importance
of quality presenters. Each sport can identify and
train people who can present DEP material, or utilise
the skilled presenters from the DEP.
Within the ASC programme the DEP offers 6 core modules
Module 3 Opening doors.
Is aimed at Sports Administrators and focuses on attracting
and retaining people with disabilities.
It also includes principles of good club development.
Modules 5 & 6 specifically targets coaches.
Each workshops runs for 3 hours and can be run independently
Cost of attending. Range of funding
Coach Education Cost $385 per module, or $33 per person.
It was noted that Development and trial of suitable training
resources was an important KPI to include within the Disability
Further discussion followed regarding current issues
in our sport.
The Top ten issues facing Equestrian Sport (PCA &
RDA) were identified as:
Lodging a successful Submission
Organisations within sports lodging joint submissions
will be looked upon favourably.
Successful Disability Action Plan submissions need to
meet the following requirements.
Be sustainable long term.
Meet a perceived need
Include a Relevant Fee Structure for both Participants
and the organisation.
(Don't undervalue what your provide)
Be supported by a strong Volunteer structure.
Demonstrate clear communication pathways & linking
in of appropriate partners
to promote Cross Organisational Awareness throughout
Demonstrate Leadership Authority and promote ownership
by and involvement of Key People.
Facilitation and Support of members at all levels.
Strong Clubs/Club Structure
Good mix in marketing images including people with disability
Recognition of existing programmes already in operation
within your sport that support the inclusion of people
with a disability. In the case of Equestrian Sport
we are really fortunate in that we have an Existing organisation
within the Sport which focuses on providing a service
specifically designed to meet the needs of people with
Sport Education Victoria & in other States Coach
Disability Education Programme
Participants within your sport & outside your sport
State Sport & Rec
Local Council Triple A programme
Consultation within and outside of your sport
Types of communication you use and when you introduce
Each other (other Project Connect participants)
To date our joint submission will include both RDA and
PCA, however I will also be attempting to include the
Adult Riding Club organisation.