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Tralee Sporting Chance Programme Honoured with National Inclusion Award

21 May 2014
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National Learning Network Tralee’s Sporting Chance programme has been honoured with a National Inclusion Award for Disability Organisations for its work in the inclusion of people with disabilities in the area of sport and physical disabilities at a ceremony at the University of Limerick which was hosted by RTÉ’s Niall O’Flynn. It was the only disability organisation in Ireland to receive one of the awards.


The awards are organised by the Cara Adapted Physical Activity Centre and the judging panel, which included representatives from a wide range of bodies including the Irish Sports Council, RTÉ, Irish Wheelchair Sport, Active Ireland, Coaching Ireland and the Cope Foundation, used a strict criteria, the '7P's' to mark each of the winners, including each organisation’s philosophy, policy and promotion for the delivery of their programmes.

The Sporting Chance programme received the award, not only for their work in providing training to people with disabilities, but also for the many programmes the students have delivered to people with disabilities outside of the centre. Each programme involves an element of planning, organising and evaluating which the students have undertaken with great enthusiasm.

The Sporting Chance programme was the lead provider for the Xcessibile Special School Sports Hall Athletics programme which they ran for two special needs schools in Listowel and Tralee earlier this year.  This special programme provides children with the opportunity to participate in athletic events in an indoor setting in a fun environment while also focusing on improving functional skills such as throwing, jumping, agility and coordination.

The Sporting Chance students are currently running ‘Gaelic for All’ sessions for children with dyspraxia and autism, providing sessions that focus on delivering additional skills training to children who may not have had the opportunity to participate in GAA activities at a community level due to coordination difficulties and a lack of confidence or support.

CampAbilities is a residential sports camp for children with vision impairments and since its inception in 2010, over 50 Sporting Chance students have participated in the camp in a number of voluntary roles including providing one--one assistance to campers with visual impairments, organising fun activities, and being members of the organising committee.

The students have delivered a number of other programmes to local schools and organisations such as gym work and swimming sessions to people with intellectual disabilities.  This has included students in St. Mary of the Angels Care Centre in Beaufort as well as swimming lessons for children with autism from Killahan National School, GAA coaching for children with special needs from St. Olivers National School in Killarney. 

The students have also found time to pass on their expertise to fellow National Learning Network students in their Tralee centre by hosting fitness classes (chair aerobics, new age curling and boccia) and coaching tag rugby.

On receiving the award, Kevin Smith, co-ordinator of the Sporting Chance Programme in Tralee said, “This is a great honour for the Sporting Chance programme to receive such a prestigious national award. To be recognised by a national body for the work we do makes it all worthwhile. We encourage our students to get involved in voluntary work and consistently emphasise the importance of gaining practical coaching and teaching experience which will be beneficial in their future careers. The Sporting Chance students put in a huge amount of effort and time and they get great reward from seeing the joy on the faces of people participating in sport who may not otherwise get the opportunity.”

National Learning Network has two centres in Tralee – in Clash Industrial Estate and a satellite service in the Education Centre in Dromtacker – as well as a retail training outlet in Kerry General Hospital. National Learning Network provides training to 160 students (funded by Kerry Education and Training Board (ETB) and the HSE) for people out of work through accident, illness, or disability.

For further information:
Róisín Fitzgerald, Rehab, 01 205 7268 / 086 810 1291 |