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National Seminar For Inclusion

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National Seminar For Inclusion

November 29, 2018


‘A Charter for Change’

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018
Location: Castleknock Hotel, Dublin
Price: €60


About the Seminar

Cara in partnership with Sport Ireland is delighted to host the 2018 National Seminar for Inclusion titled “A Charter for Change”.

The soon to be launched Sports Inclusion Disability Charter sets out what people with disabilities say they need to enhance their participation opportunities in sport and physical activity and we are asking you to commit to this charter and make active lives possible, for all.

Book early to avoid disappointment and find out about the first-ever Charter of this kind, hear directly from people with disabilities and network, share and learn within an interactive environment.

The National Seminar for Inclusion has been a place of great learning and sharing whilst highlighting and discussing areas of importance in sport and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities in Ireland. We are always encouraged with the huge interest in the event each year.

This seminar is designed with the following audience in mind:

  • National Governing Bodies of Sport managers, development officers and coaches
  • Local Sports Partnership coordinators, sports inclusion disability officers (SIDO) and sports development officers (SDO)
  • Professionals across the health, education, outdoor, sport, fitness and leisure sectors.
  • Disability Services managers and staff
  • People with disabilities
  • Anyone with an interest in enhancing sport and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities.

Seminar Schedule

Download Schedule

9.30 Registration
10.00 Welcome Address
10.15 Key Session 1 –Sport Inclusion Disability Charter – The Voice of People with Disabilities
11.15 Break
11.45 Breakout 1: Facilitated Parallel sessions

(The below options are available for attendees to select through online registration.
These are repeated in the afternoon to give attendees the opportunity to attend different sessions.)

11.45 A: Putting Policy into Practice: What’s Realistic?

How can our new policies address the participation gradient in sport and physical activity for people with disabilities?
Presenter: Peter Smyth (Sport Ireland)
Facilitator: Jon Morgan (Cara Director)

11.45 B: Collaboration- A Help or a Hindrance?

Community based sport and physical activity programmes for people with disabilities.
Presenter: Terence McSweeney (COPE Foundation)
Facilitator: Benny Cullen (Sport Ireland)

11.45 C: Promotion… The Weakest Link?

Effective strategies that work in attracting people with disabilities to your activities and programmes… what works?
Presenter: Aimi Baker (Gymnastics Ireland)
Facilitator: Mary O’Connor (Federation of Irish Sport)

1.00 Lunch
2.00 Breakout: Facilitated Parallel sessions

Breakout 2 – Repeat of Breakout 1 options above.

3.15 Key Session 2 – Wrap Up
4.00 Close

Breakout Session information:

Breakout: Facilitated Parallel Session Options

A: Putting Policy into Practice: What is Realistic?

Presenter: Peter Smyth (Sport Ireland)
Facilitator: Jon Morgan (Cara Director)

How can our new policies address the participation gradient in sport and physical activity for people with disabilities?

This workshop will focus on the key actions of the National Sports Policy, Sport Ireland’s ‘Policy on Participation in Sport by people with disabilities and the National Physical Activity Plan specific to enhancing sport and physical activity opportunities for people with disabilities. It will address the key priorities of these policies while outlining current funding opportunities and implementation plans.  This is a perfect opportunity to share knowledge and experience of inclusive policy development within your own organisation, and assist you in funding applications.

B: Collaboration- A Help or a Hindrance?

Presenter: Terence McSweeney (COPE Foundation)
Facilitator: Benny Cullen (Sport Ireland)

Community based sport and physical activity programmes for people with disabilities.

This workshop will address current participation opportunities for people with disabilities, the challenges and successes;
the decongregration of Disability Services and what this means; the infrastructure required to enhance community participation opportunities, i.e. training and education and facilities and the importance of working in collaboration for greater impact.

C: Promotion… The Weakest Link?

Presenter: Aimi Baker (Gymnastics Ireland),
Facilitator: Mary O’Connor (Federation of Irish Sport)

Effective strategies that work in attracting people with disabilities to your activities and programmes… what works?

Why do people with disabilities continually highlight lack of awareness of what is available in their community as a major barrier?

This workshop will revolve around a discussion on how to best promote your activities to people with disabilities, the challenges and successes of promotion and what is required to enhance the awareness of people with disabilities in relation to participation opportunities in sport and physical activity.


Peter Smyth

Sport Ireland

In his current role as Research Director at Sport Ireland, Peter works commissioning and managing research into key sports policy issues, particularly participation in sport to understand the dynamics of participation, who’s taking part, who’s not, the demographics, the barriers to, and motivators of, participation, transitions into and out of participation over the life course, the contribution of sports participation to health, social and economic policy objectives, etc.

Peter has contributed to the workings of relevant inter-agency groups such as the group tasked to develop the National Physical Activity Guidelines and Plan for Ireland, GP Exercise Referral Steering Group.

In 2017, Peter was seconded to Department of Sport to help write the new 10 year National Sports Policy. Peter also worked in the Department of Tourism and Sport, managing Department’s legislation programme during the period – Tourism Traffic (Amendment) Act 1998 and Irish Sports Council Act 1999.

Terence McSweeney

COPE Foundation

“Terence has worked in special education and has been employed by Cope Foundation, formerly Cork Polio and General After Care Association. Cope foundation supports 2300 people with intellectual disability and autism in Cork city and county. Having worked as a physical education teacher there since 1979 and then as manager of Sports and Physical Activity since 2002, he has vast experience in this area

In recent years Terence has focused his attention to the design and implementation of a structured administrative system which supports the effective delivery of physical activity and sports supports for the individuals supported by Cope Foundation.

In doing so, he has worked closely with other organizations and especially the Sports Inclusion Disability Officer of Cork Sports Partnership in order to develop a dynamic, cohesive and forward thinking network of mainstream sports clubs, disability organizations, community agencies who together foster an environment where people of all abilities can increase their participation rates in and enjoyment from physical activity and sports.

Terence has a wonderful team of colleagues in the Physical Activity and Sports Dept. at Cope Foundation. Together and in line with latest social & government policies, they work every day to promote disability awareness, to increase the frequency with which meaningful  and inclusive physical activity and sports take place.”


Aimi Baker

Gymnastics Ireland

Aimi has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science (UCC) and prior to her job with Gymnastics Ireland, she worked for 7 years in Health Promotion with the National Dairy Council. As part of her current role as Gymnastics Ireland Participation Manager, Aimi has recently headed up the new Disability Gymnastics Programme – GymABLE.  The main objective of this programme is to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to access gymnastics and a key part of this has been the promotion of disability gymnastics to gymnastic clubs, coaches and families, as well as the wider community.

Aimi is a native of County Wexford, enjoys coaching and tutoring gymnastics and is an avid mountain biker in her spare time.

Benny Cullen

Sport Ireland

Benny Cullen started his career as an engineer, working for an international consultancy designing facilities for the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic games.  Benny followed his passion for Sport when he joined Canoeing Ireland, where he was a key driver of the training and education frameworks, club, industry and event development as well as facility development and the Blueway concept.  Benny now works with Sport Ireland where he manages the Partnership Unit which invests in, and supports, the network of Local Sports Partnerships to develop, facilitate and promote sports participation in Ireland.

Jon Morgan

Jon Morgan is a sports and leisure professional with over 30 years’ experience. During this time Jon has held several senior roles spanning local authorities, national sport agencies, national and international governing bodies of sport.

Jon has recently stood down from the role of Chief Executive Officer for Disability Sport Wales, which he held since 2002. During that period Jon led the strategic development of disability and inclusive sport advising Welsh Government and Sport Wales on policy direction and implementation. Disability Sport Wales is now recognised as a world leading organisation in areas of
disability sports development, talent pathways and inclusion. Jon was made an OBE in the 2017 New Years Honours List for Services to Disability Sport in Wales.

In 2014, Jon led a successful consortium with Swansea University, Welsh Government, the City and County of Swansea and British / Welsh Athletics to win the rights to host the International Paralympic Committee Athletics European Championships,  Swansea. The event is still regarded as one of the most successful IPC Regional events to date.

Jon has been a Principal Leisure Officer with the City and County of Swansea and prior to that a Senior Leisure Officer with (the former) Rhymney Valley District Council. Between 2004-2009 Jon
worked for Sport Wales leading on regional sports strategies, capital lottery distribution and community engagement projects across Wales.

A board member with the British Paralympic Association between 2005-2013, Jon provided high level strategic input into the successful delivery of the British team during the Beijing and London Paralympic Games cycles. Jon was also part of a team which commissioned the strategic review of the British Paralympic Performance Services in 2007, laying the foundation for  subsequent elite sport success.

Jon currently holds several non-executive board positions including Vice-Chair Commonwealth Games Wales, a board member of the Welsh Sports Association and the Boccia  International Sports Federation. A former Board member with Boccia UK, Jon is currently leading the Engagement Strategy related to the delivery of the BISFed World Boccia Championships Liverpool 2018. In 2017, Jon was an independent panel member on the Welsh Government Review of Sport Wales.
The above roles coupled with his vast experience of delivery structures enables Jon to have a thorough understanding of the environmental, political, financial and developmental conditions within which sport and active recreation operates from local through to international communities.

Jon now offer advisory and consultancy services to the Sport and Active Recreation Sector.

Mary O’Connor

Mary O Connor is CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport. She is a native of Cork and has worked in
sport all her professional life and is an avid sports fan.

In 2016 Mary graduated from University College Cork with a Masters in Voluntary and Community
Sector Management. Before joining the Federation of Irish Sport, Mary worked with the Camogie
Association as Director of Technical Development and Participation. She excelled in this role and led
the association in to an unprecedented era of growth. Under her direction as Acting CEO of the
Camogie Association in 2013, she successfully guided the association through change in the form of
the new affiliation model for individual members, which saw camogie ensure a more equitable
membership structure for all clubs.

Mary has represented her native Cork in both Camogie and Ladies football amassing a total of 12
Senior All Ireland medals over a 16-year dual intercounty career. She has won All Stars in both codes,
national leagues and provincial titles and more recently was honoured with an Honorary Doctorate
from University College Cork (2012) in recognition of her amazing contribution to sport in Ireland.


Guests wishing to book accommodation in the Castleknock Hotel will receive 10% off their best available rate online. Contact or phone +353 (0)1 640 6300

Visit Castleknock Hotel Website: HERE




November 29, 2018
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