Gymnastics Victoria win Victorian Disability Award

The Honourable Martin Foley (center back), Minister of Housing, Disability and Ageing, Department of Health and Human
Services Kym Peake (far right front), Gymnastics Victoria Chairman Michael O'Neill (far left), Gymnastics Victoria CEO Jamie
Parsons (far right back) and Gymnastics Victoria Staff. 

The ground-breaking inclusion initiatives of Gymnastics Victoria were recognised by winning the ‘Excellence in Creating Inclusive Communities’ Victorian Disability Award at ZINC at Federation Square on Wednesday 16 August.

The Victorian Disability Awards recognise and honour those who make an outstanding contribution to empower and improve the lives of people living with disabilities in Victoria.

Gymnastics Victoria’s emphasis on innovative strategies and creating programs and events that are inclusive for all members of the community was acknowledged with the win and also recognised by being a finalist in two other categories. 

The Excellence in Creating Inclusive Communities Award was presented to Gymnastics Victoria for the work of building an inclusive community through programs that improve the lives of people with disabilities. 

The Honourable Martin Foley, Minister of Housing, Disability and Ageing presented the award and spoke very highly of the field of nominees.

“There have been many outstanding achievements by those nominated this year and it’s important that we recognise how hard they’ve worked to empower people with disability and create a more inclusive community,” said the Minister.

Gymnastics Victoria has a thriving inclusion focus with the number of gymnasts with a disability growing exponentially from 400 in 2011 to over 10,000 at the end of 2016 and a further 57 people living with disability in leadership positions.

One-fifth of Victorian Gymnastics Clubs are recognised as Inclusive Leader Clubs who hold Gymnastics classes suited to all abilities and are supported with Gymnastics Victoria’s innovative Inclusive Club App.

Gymnastics Victoria has also developed Aerobase, a fun six session online program that introduces basic Aerobics steps into schools and group classes with moves that are suitable for people of all abilities which attracts over 5000 participants annually.

Earlier this year Gymnastics Victoria launched a partnership with Special Olympics Australia seeing a Special Olympics Gymnastics workshop developed for clubs which will be adopted nationally and the introduction of Special Olympics Gymnasts into the Men’s and Women’s Victorian Gymnastics Championships. 

Gymnastics Victoria CEO Jamie Parsons is proud of the inclusion work that Gymnastics Victoria undertake and is delighted by the recognition the Victorian Disability Award brings.

“We have some fantastic people in our community who work hard to make our inclusion programs come to life. This award is for everyone in Gymnastics including the clubs, partners, coaches, technical committees and participants who make these program happen,” says Parsons. 

Winning this Victorian Disability Award comes on the back of several other award wins for inclusion programs including the 2016 VicHealth Building Health through Sport Award and the 2015 and 2014 Disability Sport and Recreation Innovation Awards. 

To learn more about Gymnastics Victoria’s inclusion programs click here .