Accessibility programming encourages lifelong love of sport
PRINCE GEORGE - Persons with different abilities living in the North - and in communities throughout the province - will have increased opportunities to become lifelong participants in sport and creative activities as a result of $735,000 in funding for accessibility programming announced Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.
The Government of British Columbia, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) and ViaSport have entered into a $335,000 Northern Sport Accessibility 2015 partnership ($290,000 to be provided by the Province) to help build more inclusive northern communities by developing a new program delivery model that has the potential to serve other regions.
A collaborative roundtable will bring together representatives of multiple sectors to develop a “made in the North” accessibility plan aimed at getting more northerners with different abilities involved in sport. The plan, to be implemented over three years by a dedicated sport accessibility coordinator housed at Pacific Sport Northern BC, will connect people with programs. The position will be further supported by an equipment grant program and technical resources.
As part of the initiative, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) will invest $45,000 to support long-term athlete development, from active start through learn-to-play stages. This funding will enhance existing service delivery while also providing new resources to communities that do not currently have access to sport development programming for persons with different abilities. The CPC will also provide in-kind contributions to train teachers and coaches in the Fundamental Movement Skills curriculum, as well as increasing awareness about how to get persons with different abilities involved in sport through the Changing Minds, Changing Lives initiative.
In addition, the Government of British Columbia will fund up to $400,000 annually to expand the After School Sport and Arts Initiative (ASSAI), providing after school sport and arts programming for children with a disability. The funding will be available to ASSAI communities to support transportation, additional staff, specialized equipment and staff training that will meet the specific needs of these children.
Northern Sport Accessibility 2015 and the expansion of ASSAI both support Accessibility 2024, a 10-year plan and shared commitment between government, businesses and communities to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with different abilities.