Change in structure for disability sports in Waikato

Ali Williams with Parafed Waikato Wheelchair Basketball Development team
Sports for people with disabilities in the Waikato are set to undergo a big change. Photo: Paralympics New Zealand

Waikato disability sports is likely to feel the pinch as the region’s leading organisation drops a key development.

Parafed Waikato will forgo its development officer position in a move that will see individual sports forced to take on more responsibility for their continuance and growth.
The development officer had previously overseen the growth and continuity of each sport for disabled people. The role also helps new sports come into being; like Powerchair Football, one of the newer sports in the Waikato.

The change is unlikely to have a major affect well-established sports such as wheelchair rugby and basketball, but others could play a price. Further responsibility and accountability will fall on volunteers from each sport as they themselves will now have to fetch their own funding.

Parafed’s current pool of funding will remain, but individual sports have been encouraged to become their own incorporated society in order to maintain their current level of operation.

Some volunteers from different sports say they are worried about the bulk of funding requests that will be submitted to the Lion Foundation and other funding organisations. Not all sports will be successful in their funding applications; making the future security for some uncertain.

To counter concerns, Parafed announced there will be an Inclusion Advisory who will work with Sport Waikato to provide leadership and advocacy across the region. The Inclusion Advisor will have a specific focus on disability sports.

The new direction comes into effect on March 31st.

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