Caitriona is a sports Inclusion Disability Officer with Kilkenny Sports Partnership
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
|I initially worked in Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership as a Sports Development Officer before moving into the role of Sports Inclusion Disability Officer in 2012. I am passionate about sports and Gaelic Football was my main interest. I studied Sports and Exercise Science in the University of Limerick and worked in Sport Ireland for a brief duration before teaching P.E. in secondary schools. When the LSP was established in Kilkenny, I moved into the Sports Development Officer position. Sports and physical activity are a big part of my life and I continue to enjoy athletics and swimming. I love taking part in outdoor sports with my family.|
What motivated you to follow this career path? Was it always an area that you could see yourself being involved in professionally?
|I came into this role through Community Sports Development in the Sports Partnership. I had very little exposure to this area before I started but through my background in education I had worked with people with disabilities and had a huge interest in this area.|
What areas have you studied as part of your career development? (i.e. what did you study in college and what further training/upskilling have you undertaken since?)
|I graduated from University of Limerick with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science from. I have completed courses in Advanced Facilitation Skills, Project Management Skills and Strategic Planning with various organisations. I have also undertaking training in Consulting with Children and Young People with the Department of Youth and Children Affairs. I have availed of many training options with the CARA Centre including Tutor Training for Disability Inclusion Training, Inclusive Adventure Sports and Autism in Sport.|
What areas are you responsible for in your role as a Sport Inclusion Disability Officer & how long have you been in post?
|I initially worked in Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership as a Sports Development Officer before moving into the role of Sports Inclusion Disability Officer in 2012. She is a member of the CARA Tutor team, and delivers Disability Inclusion and Disability Awareness Training. Caitriona had also led the Community Sports Hub and Urban Outdoor Initiatives in Kilkenny over the last 3 years. This has provided opportunities to ensure that new facilities and community spaces in Kilkenny are inclusive environments that promote physical activity for all!|
What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
|My days are hugely varied, it can include supporting clubs, training volunteers, school visits, visiting disability organisations and lots of partnership work!|
How do you link with Cara as part of your role as a Sport Inclusion Officer?
|CARA runs an annual conference and regional meetings which are an invaluable way for SIDOs to stay up to date with the latest developments in Disability Sport and also to meet others who are working in the field. CARA also offer training which I try to take up on as much as I can.|
How can Cara support you more in your role as Sport Inclusion Disability Officer?
|I think we are well supported but offering training courses and opportunities to meet with other people working in this area is always good!|
What do you feel is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of your job?
|I love to see those who have previously participated in our summer camps as a child with a disability, coming back as volunteers!|
Is there one particular initiative/event that you have been involved in through your role that you look on with great pride and satisfaction?
|I love to see the huge rewards that can be gained by people with disabilities, from taking part in outdoor activities in the natural environment.|
How would you like to see yourself progressing within the job over the next five years?
|I would like to support others who may be working with people with disabilities for the first time to build confidence and empower an inclusive community. I would like to ensure that new infrastructure and facilities are inclusive of all.|
Have you any ideas/initiatives that you would like to see developed over that time?
|More mainstream sports clubs offering inclusive sessions for children and adults with disabilities.
Greater menu of activities, classes and sports run by community providers available for people with disabilities and limited mobility and open to all.
A local focus on the development of an inclusive built environment that supports a physically active community.