Ability not disability – a sporting success

Reclink Australia operates Access for All Abilities Play, a service connecting people living with disabilities to sporting activities across the City of Yarra.

In high demand, Access for All Abilities Play (AAA Play) is the first point of contact for people with disabilities who wish to participate in sport within their local areas.

The Melbourne initiative aims to provide opportunities to get involved in sport and recreation, to those who have never had it before.

AAA Play participants playing tennis at Kevin Bartlett Reserve. Photo: AAA Play
AAA Play participants playing tennis at Kevin Bartlett Reserve. Photo: AAA Play

AAA Play Manager, Libbi Cunnington is ecstatic with the program’s growth since its launch in 2013.

“There is more and more happening all the time, which is fantastic. We are growing all the time,” she said.

Activity options have evolved since the launch of AAA Play, with activities such as soccer, football, tennis, basketball, lawn bowls and now water sports on the agenda.

With more than 400 events happening across Melbourne, there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved.

“We’re now taking it to the next level. There are so many programs now, we even need a calendar so people can plan their summer holidays around being able to participate,” Cunnington said.

The rapid growth in interest in AAA Play is a result of campaigning at expos, through social media, networking and self-advocacy groups.

They have also re-designed their advertising campaign, shifting the focus onto what participants can do, rather than defining them by disability.

Libbi Cunnington (AAA Play Manager) and Taylah Kiely (AAA Project Support Officer) with AAA Play Characters. Photo: Marnie Cohen
Libbi Cunnington (AAA Play Manager) and Taylah Kiely (AAA Project Support Officer) with AAA Play Characters. Photo: Marnie Cohen

AAA Play characters: Captain Access, Lila Adams and Mohawk Jones, were launched in conjunction with a new website and promote the benefits of sport for people living with a disability. The three characters are leading AAA Play into another successful year with their strength and can-do-attitude.

AAA Play characters. Photo: Marnie Cohen
AAA Play characters. Photo: Marnie Cohen

Mohawk Jones continues to play Basketball daily, despite a car accident restricting him to a wheelchair, while Lila Adams doesn’t let a prosthetic arm interfere with her love for swimming.

AAA Play believes these relatable characters will encourage many to take part in sporting activities throughout the new year.

Cunnington, along with Project Support Officer Taylah Kiely, is excited for what AAA Play will bring to the City of Yarra in 2017.

“Everyone involved is in this really positive space, and asking ‘How we can do this? How can we help?’ It’s great. Things are really on the up,” Cunnnington said.

AAA Play is continually searching for new programs and ideas, and to bring more opportunities in the new year to people living with disabilities.

The City of Yarra is involved in many Access for All Abilities Play programs. Check the latest copy of ‘Active Yarra’, or visit the AAA Play website for more information.

Written by Marnie Cohen

Marnie Cohen

Marnie is a 22-year-old Deakin Journalism student, who is about to head into her final year of study. She’s combined her love for writing and passion for AFL, fashion, beauty, and local news to bring you exciting stories, brilliant new discoveries and strong opinions.

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