22 Dec 2020 Year in Review
Happy holidays from the team at Inclusive Sport SA.
Over the years these Christmas updates have been one of celebration and a look back at a year of positivity and whilst we have moments of success from 2020 to reminisce on, it has unquestionably been a challenging year for many.
We are grateful to all who have continued to support and engage with Inclusive Sport SA (ISSA) and our services throughout 2020 and the patience and understanding shown as we encounter this uncharted territory together. It may not have been what we had hoped for in January this year, but as we reach the end of 2020 I am thankful for the dedication, resilience and kindness I have witnessed within our ISSA community and the wider general public.
At the end of 2020, Inclusive Sport SA remains in a strong and viable position as an organisation and we have our staff and Board to thank for this.
In March we were faced with our biggest challenge in 40 years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and saw businesses and organisations shut across sectors within South Australia. Our Rapidswim programs were cancelled and our Behaviour Support SA (BSSA) services were heavily impacted.
At the time, concern around how these cancellations and changes would affect our participants, families and staff was high and looking back now I am proud of what we were able to achieve. In less than a week we changed our services, creating and developing entirely new services such as the ‘On the Move’ 1:1 online sport and fitness program, allowing us to address some of the gaps in social and physical wellbeing encountered by our participants as the usual services and activities were paused.
Like many across the country, government health advice saw our offices close for a number of weeks with staff transitioning to working from home during this time and staying in contact with our participants, families and program staff via phone and video call software. Our ongoing investment in technology ensured that the ISSA team was able to continue working on a number of important projects during shutdown, including the development and launch of our new website in June. As most will have now seen, the updated website provides a modern and accessible platform that ushers in the next era for ISSA, encompassing individualised spaces for each of our growing business units and the capacity to support our organisation moving forward as we continue to evolve and expand.
By June we had returned to the office with the re-opening of the Rapidswim program in Term 3 and the expansion of BSSA’s Positive Behaviour Support service. Simultaneously, our Active Inclusion (AI) team also achieved great things in limited time with the creation and dissemination of our ‘Return to Sport Accessible Guides’ for the sport and recreation sector in partnership with the South Australian Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing. In a matter of weeks AI identified key SA Government restrictions and outlined these in multiple accessible formats to ensure that all South Australians could stay healthy and safe as they reengaged with their sport and recreation activities. To this day the campaign’s social media video, featuring SA professional and state representative athletes, has reached over 650,000 Australians whilst the 14 accessible documents developed for both participants and club volunteers have been downloaded over 1100 times from the dedicated page on the ISSA website.
This year also saw Inclusive Sport SA’s team grow substantially. We welcomed four new Positive Behaviour Support Practitioners, Jessica Howe, Esther Bechara, Tamsin Petzer and Madeleine Martin within our BSSA department as well as new NDIS Service Coordinator, Amanda Sabatino with General Manager of Services Bianca Dubois also returning from Maternity Leave in a part time capacity. Each of our new team members has brought their expertise and passion to our organisation, seamlessly joining in on the fun and offering their support to one another. I want to thank each and every one of our staff this year, from the Rapidswim team members, the BSSA Practitioners, our Active Inclusion team and the Board. You have all persevered through the hardest of years without compromising our commitment to providing best practice and quality service to our participants, families and stakeholders.
And here we are, days away from Christmas and I am optimistic for what the New Year will bring. We are moving into a year of new opportunities and our team is excited as ever to continue supporting and building inclusive communities for all South Australians. As we sign off for the year and move into a time filled with family, friends and food I would like to wish all a safe and happy holiday period. Take care if you are heading out on the roads to see loved ones and remember to keep following government health and physical distancing guidelines.
Stay safe and see you in 2021,