A new partnership with Guthrie Street Primary School has seen Valley Sport provide further opportunities for participation in sport and recreation for school aged students with a hearing impairment or disability.

The initiative, which featured over 25 participants, was facilitated by Deaf Sport and Recreation Victoria in what Valley Sport Project Officer Jarryd Cutler said was the beginning of an exciting collaboration between the Goulburn Valley’s leading sports organisation and schooling community.

“We’re always looking at new ways of providing equal access to sport and recreation” he said, “So when the staff from the Guthrie Street Primary School Deaf Committee approached us with an idea to get their students participating in physical activity we jumped at the opportunity”.

Cutler said that the discussions with the Primary School had lead to the formation of positive links with Deaf Sport and Recreation and Expression Australia who all bought into the idea immediately.

“All it took was a quick mention of what we were trying to do and automatically everyone was on board. Through our planning process we created a 2 hour fun skills session where the participants would be able to try their hand at a number of sports in a safe and inclusive environment”.

The session, delivered at the Guthrie Street Primary School, was also opened to the wider schooling community in an effort to form friendships between different schools. As a result, the participant numbers more than doubled with the Bendigo Deaf Facility and other regional schools travelling to take part in the festivities of the day.

After the event Cutler said that the feedback had all been positive. “It looks and sounds like everyone has had a blast here today” he said. “We’ve had modified versions of soccer, football and basketball which has promoted teamwork, inclusion and opportunity to everyone. Often having a disability can place barriers up when it comes to participation, the aim of today was to provide an environment where people could give sport a go”.

Cutler also said that Valley Sport would continue working within the community to form further partnerships that make sport and recreation accessible to everyone.