Belgravia Leisure’s Access and Inclusion program wins national innovation award

Belgravia Leisure’s Access and Inclusion program has shared the award for the category of Programs, Activities and Events at the Sports, Recreation and Play Innovation Awards night, announced last month in Melbourne.

Chief Executive Officer, Nick Cox, said the program has been designed to increase the access to leisure based activities for all members of the community.

“Over 4,000 children and adults with a physical or intellectual disability have made in excess of 80,000 annual visits to participate in sport, aquatic and fitness programs at Belgravia Leisure managed facilities,” he said.

“Our access and inclusion program is being integrated across all our facilities.”

The program is headed by National Disability and Diversity Manager, Associate Professor Jeff Walkley, who advocates adopting evidence-based practice in health, wellbeing and social connection.

“Dr Walkley is renowned for his work in connecting people with a disability to sport and recreation, and has also won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Victorian Disability Awards last year,” Mr Cox said.

“We are very proud to have Dr Walkley spearhead our Access and Inclusion program.”

Dr Walkley established the program in 2015, which creates and fosters sport and recreation opportunities, for all people, regardless of age, disability, health or cultural background.

Today, Dr Walkley leads a team of 50 Inclusion Coordinators, each delivering an access and inclusion program in aquatics, fitness, golf or sports at a Belgravia Leisure facility.

He has created a unique model that shifts funding from government to private enterprise, enabling access and inclusion programs to be financially and socially sustainable, with a proven track record in maximising social impact.

Belgravia Leisure is also a registered NDIS provider, offering sports coaching and fitness programs via this equitable funding stream.

Examples of localised and national access and inclusion programs include:

  • Creating Pathways to Golf – golf program in Victorian and Western Australian golf courses
  • Creating Pathways to Sport – stadium sports in a community setting
  • Pathway to Aquatic Independence Swimming and Water Safety – supported swim classes
  • Take Charge – mental health and wellbeing program at City of Sydney sites
  • Partners in Health – collaboration with medical and allied health practitioners to connect leisure centres to health services
  • Employment program – meaningful employment for people with a disability.