Inspiring programme for youth with disabilities
15 December 2016 – Hamilton-based Life Unlimited will run Sport Waikato’s popular Sport Opportunity After School programme from term one next year.
The programme provides sporting opportunities for children and young people with disabilities between the ages of 5 and 21.
Well known wheelchair sportsperson Maioro Barton will continue to lead the programme as part of Life Unlimited’s community services team.
Life Unlimited chief executive Mark Brown said the programme aligned with his organisation’s strategic direction of enabling people to live the life they choose.
“We already provide a range of services in Waikato which foster community participation and enable inclusion outcomes for all.
“Our programmes, such as Best Buddies, The Social Club, Life Fit and the Waiata Group, provide opportunities for people with disabilities to meet and make new friends and be involved in the community.
“We see the addition of Sport Opportunity After School to our activities as a ‘natural fit’,” said Brown
Sport Waikato chief executive Matthew Cooper said through his organisation’s sporting networks and clubs, the programme had been able to provide an environment which allowed children and young people with a disability to participate and develop skills in sport.
“Life Unlimited will still have access to our networks to help deliver future events and programmes and we will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of those who get so much out of participating after school doing activities such as basketball, movement to music, golf, athletics, bowls, hockey and tennis.
“The valued relationship we’ve had with the University of Waikato has been a big plus for us and the programme and we’re pleased to confirm that relationship will continue with Life Unlimited,” said Cooper.
Black Fern Honey Hireme, who was recently promoted to community support manager at Life Unlimited, will oversee the programme and given her sporting background, is likely to participate as well.
“I find this programme inspiring. It’s a good way for kids to be exposed to different sports. It’s delivered by a range of clubs and the people really get involved with the children.
“What I really like is the children themselves, both with physical and intellectual disabilities, are very caring of each other, they embrace and help each other and celebrate success in a unique way.
“It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about participating. They have a real sense of achievement,” said Hireme.
Life Unlimited is a charitable trust offering health and disability services, advice and equipment so people can live the life they choose.