"Xcessible" Inclusive Leisure Centre Initiative Launched at IT Tralee
The Department of Justice and Equality has announced funding for the CARA Adapted Physical Activity Centre, a collaborative venture between IT Tralee and the Irish Sports Council to run a programme of inclusion for people with disabilities in sport. The initiative will be run in partnership with a number of leisure centres nationally.
CARA co-ordinates national initiatives and works through the Sports Inclusion Disability Programme in the Local Sports Partnerships in each county to improve opportunities and quality of provision of sporting activities for people with disabilities.
Titled "Xcessible", the overall aim of the initiative to heighten the awareness of the benefits of exercise, active healthy lifestyles and participation for people with disabilities. The programme will take place from the 28th of November to the 11th of December 2011 and is one of a number of initiatives which will run nationwide to mark National Disability Day on December 3rd.
CARA will work with each Local Sports Partnership (LSP) and will identify one leisure centre in their county to participate in the initiative. Each leisure centre will select a date within one week of disability awareness day to hold an open day for new members – in particular targeting their promotional efforts to people with disabilities. On the day selected by the leisure centre to run the initiative, local Sports Inclusion Disability Officers/LSP representatives will assist with programme delivery.
As part of the day, the CARA centre will record the activities at the centre for the purposes of developing a multimedia training tool to utilise within the inclusive leisure centre training resource. Following the "Xcessible" Day, the CARA Training and Education Officer will then provide training for all staff in each centre. Training will help to troubleshoot any issues that staff highlight and will also include topics such as the need for a disability officer, physical accessibility, promotion, qualifications, policy, and segregated and inclusive programmes suitable for leisure centres. There will also be on-going support provided in the months following the training by the Education Officer and more frequently by the Local Sports Partnership. Each centre will also receive a training resource to support their future activities in the accessibility space.
CARA will work in partnership with Irish Leisure and Amenity Management (ILAM), in promoting the scheme and in the development of the training programme content and resource materials.
The outcomes from the "Xcessible", programme will be shared with those who attend the European Congress of Adapted Physical Activity which will be held in Killarney from May 6th to the 8th 2012. This event is also being organised by CARA and over 400 national and international delegates are expected to attend. The focus of the conference will be the presentation of research and case studies which can inform day to day practice in relation to the inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities in physical activity, physical education and sport.
The "Xcessible", programme was launched yesterday at the IT Tralee by Dr. Lauren Lieberman who is a professor at The College at Brockport, New York in the area of Adapted Physical Education. Lauren is also Director of Camp Abilities; a developmental sports camp for children with visual impairments that runs each summer. Dr. Lieberman has won The College at Chancellors Award for Scholarship and the Amazing Person Award from the APE Council of NYS AHPERD and works closely with the APA team at the IT Tralee.