August 2017 - edition 8

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Awards Finalists announced...

Gold medal winning Paralympians, teenage world champions, grass-roots coaches, infrastructure developers, dedicated volunteers and officials and inclusion advocates are among the outstanding entrants to be shortlisted as finalists for the 2017 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards. With a record number of nominations, new sponosrs, new venue and an afternoon time slot, this year's awards are shaping up as the biggest and best yet.

The awards recognise the accomplishments of people with disability, those who support them, and the inclusive sport and recreation sector across the state.

It is an opportunity to celebrate the athletes, volunteers, clubs, communities, venues and programs that enable and empower people with disability to get active and achieve their goals.

“We are extremely proud of the level of excellence shown by all our finalists,” said Richard Amon, CEO of Disability Sport and Recreation.

“These awards not only celebrate achievement, but showcase the sportsmanship, professionalism and community spirit that exists in the disability sport and recreation sector.

“We are also saying thank you to our sector for all it has achieved - the dedication and commitment shown through countless hours by athletes, volunteers, coaches, officials, administrators, clubs and organisations".

The finalists in each category are:

Deakin University Female sportsperson of the year:

• Hannah Macdougall – cycling – 2017 Para Cycling World Cup gold and silver medallist
• Isis Holt – athletics – 2017 Para Athletics World Cup 2 x gold medallist

Male sportsperson of the year:

• Ben Roche – soccer – Paralympian and FFV All Abilities Football Ambassador
• Mitchell Gourley – alpine skiing – world champion and Paralympian
• Todd Hodgetts – athletics – Paralympic and Para Athletics bronze medallist

Marg Angel Junior sportsperson of the year:

• Alex Vuillermin – volleyball/rowing – state and junior national teams/potential Para Rowing World Championships
• Cosimo Cirillo – soccer – Australian Paralympic Football team
• Jaryd Clifford – athletics – 2017 Para Athletics bronze medallist

Masters sportsperson of the year:

• Bryce Alman – wheelchair rugby – former international competitor, now State player/coach
• Carol Cooke – cycling – Paralympic and Para Cycling World Championship gold medallist

Team of the year:

• Victorian Vikings – cricket – athletes with intellectual disability, winners of the inaugural National Cricket Inclusion Championships
• Victoria Protect Thunder – wheelchair rugby – Victoria’s State wheelchair rugby team who were top state in all 3 rounds so far of national championship series

Coach of the year:

• Alexia Keats – Swimming – head coach at Maccabi Swimming Club All Abilities program
• Ben Peacock – Blind cricket and tenpin bowling – local leagues
• Lawrence Gileno – wheelchair tennis – head coach Hume Wheelchair Tennis Hub

Official of the year:

• Liam Costello – wheelchair rugby – local, national and international referee
• Shane Crick – basketball – umpire/coach/player deaf and hearing basketball, Deaflympics

Volunteer of the year:

• Alana Baldi – Special Olympics and cricket
• Cate Sayers – dance and fitness
• Dennis Ramsay – wheelchair basketball

Lifetime achievement award:

• Cameron West and Adam Barry – balloon football – co-founders of Balloon Football League
• Maurice Gleeson – blind sports – President, Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria

Initiative of the year:

• All Abilities Sport Ballarat
• Deaf Tennis Hub, Doncaster Tennis Club
• Hume Tennis and Community Centre Wheelchair Tennis Hub

Infrastructure of the year: 

• Livvis Playspace, Craigieburn ANZAC Park, Hume City Council Touched by Olivia Foundation
• Booran Road Reserve, Caulfield, City of Glen Eira
• Casey Stadium, City of Casey

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held at 4.30pm on August 17 at Southbank.

Now in its ninth year, previous winners include Paralympians such as Dylan Alcott, Jessica Gallagher, Carol Cooke, Nazim Erdem, Ellie Cole and Toby Kane, as well as local heroes Brenton Ponza, Gary Connor and the Jetz Balloon Football team.

New major awards partner announced...

Deakin University is proud to sponsor the 2017 Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards. Deakin University supports the rights of people with disability to be included in the communities of their choice. Sport is a cornerstone of Australian culture, and it’s important for all people regardless of ability.

Deakin University is committed to developing courses and research projects to help ensure the health and wellbeing of young people with disability and their families. The School of Health and Social Development has a suite of undergraduate and post graduate courses which focus on disability and ensure that Deakin graduates are at the cutting edge of knowledge and understanding of current practice and policy in disability.

Deakin recognizes that sport is important for health, wellbeing and social engagement for Australians and an important part of the Australian way of life, hence our involvement and support of these important community awards.  Furthermore, our researchers are involved in many research projects that focus on both children and adults with disability. hence our involvement and support in these important community awards.

One of these is a new Deakin University program that is helping children of all abilities be part of AFL Auskick in 2017, with researchers to monitor their progress as part of an investigation into the benefits of physical activity for young Australians with a disability.

AllPlay – a collaboration between Deakin University and the AFL, with funding from Moose Toys and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) – has been specially designed to support children with disabilities to feel comfortable and enjoy the benefits of participating on the footy field.

The national project is spearheaded by Professor Nicole Rinehart, Director of the Deakin Child Study Centre, part of the University’s School of Psychology, who said her program hoped to change the fact that access to sport was not a level playing field in Australia. “Children with developmental challenges, such as autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, language disorders and intellectual disabilities, often feel their disabilities are a barrier to participating in team sport,” Professor Reinhart said.

AllPlay is about opening up opportunities for sport to all children, because we can see that it has such a positive impact on not just their physical development, but their social development too.” The project is led by Deakin University, in partnership with the AFL and the NDIA, and research collaborators at Charles Darwin University, Perth’s Telethon Institute and the University of Melbourne.

Visit the AllPlay website at, or download the free AllPlay Footy app from the App Store or Google Play.

Thanks to all our current and new award partners for 2017

With gratitude the Annual Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards are pleased to announce that this year we are proudly supported again by the Carbine Club and Taxi Services Commission, Protect and City of Melbourne and new major partner Deakin University.

We also would like to thank and welcome new event partners PwC, VicHealth, Jetaway Travel, AIA, Aligned Leisure, Print Supply and Soniq. Without the support of our wonderful sponsors it would not be possible for DSR to deliver the awards year after year. 

WheelTalk now taking bookings for the remainder of 2017

Calling all schools, TAFEs and Universities -  our popular disability awareness education program, WheelTalk is now taking bookings for the rest of 2017. Following another record breaking year in 2016/17 where 717 sessions were delivered to nearly 19,000 students. Suitable for all ages and class sizes, this interactive program gives students a unique insight into disability, while reinforcing the importance of physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Visit our website for more information and the
online booking form. Get in quick for this popular program.

DEFIANT LIVES - A new documentary about the history of disability rights

Melbourne protesters for disability rights protesting in Melbourne CBD


Defiant Lives is a new documentary about the history of the disability rights movement in Australia, the US and the UK.  The film is currently screening in selected cinemas around Australia via Demand Film.  Tickets need to be booked  in advance online.  Defiant Lives received 3.5 stars from film critic David Stratton in the Australian. 

You can find out more about Defiant Lives here

About the film:

Defiant Lives which premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and is now screening in selected cinemas introduces the world to the most impressive activists you’ve never heard of and tells the story of the rise and fight of the disability rights movement in the United States, Britain and Australia.

Featuring exclusive interviews with elders (some now deceased) who’ve led the movement over the past five decades, the film weaves together never-before-seen archival footage with the often-confronting personal stories of disabled men and women as they moved from being warehoused in institutions to fighting for independence and control over their lives.

Once freed from their imprisonment, disabled men and women took on the big charities, criticising the use of celebrities to beg on their behalf. They chained themselves to public transport around the world and demanded access “to boldly go where everyone else has gone before”; and they lobbied for support to live ordinary lives in the community with family, lovers and friends.

Defiant Lives is a triumphant film full of extraordinary characters who put their lives on the line to create a better and very different world where everyone regardless of impairment is valued and can participate.

Latest screenings and where to book in advance through Demand Film can be found here.

Monash Aquatic & Recreation Centre - Active Abilities Kids program:

The Monash Aquatic & Recreation Centre offers a range of facilities for people with a disability, including the Active Abilities Kids program.

A group exercise program that is fun, non-competitive and a great way to introduce physical activity to your child/children. This program aims to improve confidence, fitness, strength, co-ordination and self-esteem through interactive games, relays, ball skills, warm ups and cool downs.

Active Abilities Kids runs on Wednesdays at 4.45pm for 45 minutes.  First class is  free. Active kids class can also be accessed on a casual basis.


Wednesday 4.45pm-5.30pm
Monash Aquatic and Recreation Centre
626 Waverley Road, Glen Waverley
Contact –
03 9265 4888

Programs can also be tailored for special school groups. Please call Carol to discuss designing a program to suit your school.

AFL Wheelchair season fixture

Three men in wheelchairs prepare for the opening throw in a game of AFL Wheelchair.

The first season of AFL Wheelchair is underway and is seeking new participants both with and without a disability to join this exciting new sport. Don't worry if you havent played before, sessions cater for beginers to experienced players.

Remaining session times and locations:

13 Aug, 3 - 6pm, Darebin Community Sports Centre - 857 Plenty Rd, Reservoir
27 Aug, 10am - 4pm, Casey Stadium (State Championships - 65 Berwick-Cranbourne Rd, Cranbourne East

For more information, contact Tim Nield, FIDA Football and

AAA Programs Manager, at AFL Victoria on 8341 6023 or

Vics Shine in all Australian Squad

Six of Victoria’s top Victorian FIDA Football League footballers have been selected in the 2017 All Australian Inclusion team following a successful AFL National Inclusion Carnival held on the Gold Coast last week. Read more here.

Member of the month - Alex Gale-Grime

Our members come from all walks of life and many have fascinating stories to tell. We would like to share some of them with you, so each month we will feature a new member in the newsletter. 

This month we are featuring Alex Gale-Grime. Alex tells us about her love for Cycle Power and her weekly radio program on SYN FM. You can read the full article here.

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