Shining a light on All Abilities

Tim Downes Is the Access All Abilities Coordinator for Leisure Networks.

Having started in the role in May 2017 he has been involved in All Abilities Footy (FIDA and Auskick), All Abilities Netball Competition, All Abilities Basketball, All Abilities Soccer League and All Abilities Futsal along with working closely with Parallel Sports Inc. in building wheelchair sports programs.

There are many highlights of working in this space but there is nothing better than seeing a participant/customer grow in confidence, skill development, social skills over the course of a season or term program. Participants love the feeling of belonging, the same as everyone else, and it’s great to see the happiness in a participants/customers face when they put on a team jumper. They’re not only representing themselves but a club or team.

Tim is big on creating pathways for participants and his vision or wish is that most sports, if not all, have a complete pathway from grassroots all the way through to representing Australia(if applicable). Leisure Networks and the regional sporting clubs can play a huge role in being advocates for this in the community. There is still plenty of work to do in making this happen but it’s very achievable. Undoubtably Tim’s biggest highlight for this year would be the development of the Geelong Dragons FIDA Footy Team. There was a huge demand for AllAbilities Footy in the Geelong Region and this was well and truly evident with 39 registered players for the 2018 FIDA Season. It was great to see the beauty of partnerships in full effect. Without the support of AFL Victoria, AFL Barwon and the Bell Park Football Netball Club, this wouldn’t have been possible. It was also great to have the support of the Geelong Cats Footy Club and their players who attended games and training sessions. Disability Footy is in an exciting space at the moment and willc ontinue to grow in Geelong and surrounding areas.

Tim has a love of sport and that hasn’t changed since he was pretending to be ‘Richo’ on the family farm as a youngster. By playing sport, he was able to engage in physical activity, create new friendships, develop life skills and this should be the same whether you have a disability or not. Growing up in a small country town, there were so many dedicated groups and individuals looking to create as many opportunities for the community for people to develop and succeed.

Within role at Leisure Networks, that is what Tim is looking at trying to achieve. Create as many opportunities for participants to develop and succeed. Success isn’t necessarily being the best player or kicking/shooting the most goals, every participant has a goal that they would like to achieve and if we’re able to get them to achieve that goal, that’s success for us.

We are very lucky to have Tim at Leisure Networks.

Leisure Networks respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands and waters of Australia. We are committed to inclusive communities.