August 2018

What we did

We made an organisational commitment to substantially improve access and inclusion in sport, recreation, aquatics and fitness activities in the Australian and New Zealand communities in which we operate.

This includes:

  • prioritising inclusion of people with a disability, of diversity and who experience disadvantage through implementing a national inclusion and access strategy
  • creating the role of National Disability and Diversity Manager, a position funded internally, and the first national-level position of its type in the leisure services management industry
  • systematically creating an inclusion coordinator role in each venue, with 63 now in place throughout Australia and New Zealand
  • adopting a community development approach that cultivates collaboration with government, local organisations, families and people with a disability, and who experience disadvantage, so as to ensure the community’s ‘voice’ is heard, and community needs, preferences and priorities are identified and drive program innovation, and
  • embracing a continuous improvement approach that includes evidence collection as a solid foundation for service delivery, improvement and sustainability.

We developed our approach through:

  • conducting individual conversations, community forums, stakeholder meetings and dataset reviews to gather evidence about local needs, preferences and priorities to guide program innovation
  • national surveys of venues to confirm the financial viability of our approach and to promote organisation-wide confidence
  • trialling across 15 venues and with 312 staff an online staff program ‘YouMeUs’ which supports inclusion of people with a disability into leisure centres with results revealing a statistically significant large improvement in understanding, knowledge and confidence.

Belgravia Leisure

Why we did it

Access to and inclusion in sport and recreation for people with a disability, or diversity and who experience disadvantage continues to occur at lower rates of participation than among other groups in communities.

Sustainability is embedded into our approach. Through participant, stakeholder and community engagement, knowledge of the needs, priorities and preferences of intended participants is gathered, which in turn ensures program and service offerings are sought – have a viable market - within the community, enhancing uptake.

Financial viability is interwoven with and supports sustainability. Careful costing of programs and services occurs, whereby the lowest possible cost that can be met by participants and organisations is set. Cost control occurs through scheduling, staffing and working with partners who have aligned needs and a willingness to share resources as part of collaboration.

Alignment with the priorities of local government supports sustainability, and promotes collaboration, partnership and shared access to resources that support program and service offerings designed for those in the community that are marginalised.

How do we know it worked

We evaluate all of our activities and have recorded great success including the following examples:

  • Pathways to cricket/golf (2016 & 2017) and netball/football (2016) programs engaged on each occasion more than 200 teens with an intellectual disability in sport. Evaluations confirmed sports, SEDA College students, and teachers highly commended the program. SEDA student coaches experienced statistically improved confidence, knowledge and intention to promote inclusion.
  • Evaluations of swimming and water safety programs for people with a disability (2017), revealed extremely high satisfaction by 145 respondents across 11 venues (net promoter score = 72), as well as improvements in skills and behaviours, and confidence by parents/carers in regard to water safety.
  • Survey evidence from ‘Take Charge’— which provides a 60-day free then concessional cost individualised fitness centre support to people with mental illness— showed improved community participation, social connection and health and well-being outcomes, as well as improved staff confidence to support participants.
  • Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awareness Education and Prevention Shield (2017) brought together more than 125 teens, supported by some 60 volunteers and around 100 spectators/elders, to engage in sports and learn about healthy relationships. Survey results revealed improved understanding among teens.
  • Asylum seeker swim and water safety program (2017) evaluation revealed improved knowledge and behaviours around and in water.