Next up in the lineup of incredible Sports Inclusion Disability Officers, to be profiled is Jean Brady of Offaly Sports Partnership
First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
|I am 27 years old and live in Killurin just outside Tullamore in County Offaly.
I am heavily involved in my community where I have experience working on community based projects and underage sports activities with many different groups of children. I also volunteer with Special Olympics Ireland and Volunteer Ireland when possible.
I have a huge interest in all Sports. I have played Basketball, Soccer and football at a high level with my main sport being Camogie. I received a camogie sport scholarship to Waterford Institute of Technology. I currently play camogie with my senior club and county team. I have numerous club, college and county medals including 3 All-Ireland medals with W.I.T and an under 18, Junior and Intermediate All-Ireland with Offaly. I was nominated for a camogie All-star in 2015 and 2016.
What motivated you to follow this career path? Was it always an area that you could see yourself being involved in professionally?
|I am very passionate about sport and physical activity. I always knew that it was an area I wanted to be involved with professionally. I wanted to be able to encourage and provide physical activity opportunities for people of all ages to be involved in sport. I specifically chose the Exercise and Health Course in W.I.T as it stated on the prospective that on completion of the course you would have the qualifications to work with young people, older adults and people with disabilities. Due to my keen interest in working with people with disabilities I chose disabilities as one of the modules to focus on in the last year of the course.|
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 studied Exercise and Health Studies in Waterford Institute of Technology.
Since completing my degree I have undergone numerous courses/training to upskill myself. I am a qualified tutor for the Sport Ireland Coaching Children’s Programme and Sports Leader UK Awards. I have also completed Disability Inclusion Training, Autism in Sport, Child protection in Sport Awareness, Go for life Training, First Aid, Manual Handling and Proficiency in water skills training.
What areas are you responsible for in your role as a Sports Inclusion Disability Officer & how long have you been in post?
|I took up my post in May 2018 so I have just completed my first year in the job.
The Sports Inclusion Development Officer in Offaly Sports Partnership works towards increasing participation for people with a disability (60% of my work) and people from other low participation groups in sport, physical activity and active recreation (40% of my work).
The Sports Inclusion Development Officer aims to facilitate, develop and promote the implementation of education programmes for teachers, coaches, fitness instructors, service providers. Support programmes for service providers to people with a disability in an effort to establish sustainable structures for ongoing participation. Assist with the establishment of new clubs for people with a disability. Facilitate develop and deliver the implementation of physical activity programmes for other low participation target groups.
What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
|Each day is different. Some days might involve been in the office organising and developing new programmes while other days I would be out attending programmes or schools and delivering sessions.|
How do you link with Cara as part of your role as a Sport Inclusion Officer?
|My main dealings with Cara involve booking different training workshops for local teachers, SNA’s, volunteers and community based groups. I have also linked with them for advice on different programmes etc. I have also attended Networking days organised by Cara which have been very beneficial to my work.|
How can Cara support you more in your role as Sport Inclusion Disability Officer?
|Cara support me really well in my role already, so I just like Cara to continue to provide more training for SIDOS to be able to deliver Disability Awareness Training or other training programmes. Having a Spots Inclusion Coordinator available to assist me with my work and to attend events and meetings is also really helpful.|
What do you feel is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of your job?
|Seeing the difference some of the inclusion programmes make to people’s lives is amazing. Getting to change someone’s life for the better is so rewarding and working with such a wide variety of people young and old and of all abilities great. I find I am always learning new things and each day is different. Definitely seeing the smiles and joy that some of the programmes bring to people’s lives is the most rewarding part of the job.|
Is there one particular initiative/event that you have been involved in through your role that you look on with great pride and satisfaction?
|Last year I organised a July Provision Sports Day. It was a multi sports day which we ran for children who were involved in the July Provision Programme. It was really well attended with over 60 children attending on the day. The feedback from both teachers and children was fantastic. I suppose it gave me great satisfaction as I wasn’t long in the job and it was my first big event to run. Children of all abilities attended while young teenagers who had undergone the Sports Leader programme and Disability Inclusion Programme helped run the event which was also great to see.|
How would you like to see yourself progressing within the job over the next five years?
|I would love to attend more training and develop myself further. I Would like to see myself progress to tutoring courses such as the Disability Inclusion Training, Inclusive fitness and Autism Awareness Courses.|
Have you any ideas/initiatives that you would like to see developed over that time?
|-I am in the process of developing a multi sports/GAA Inclusion group in Tullamore. This is definitely something I am excited about and hope to see grow over the next few years.
-Along with Laois Sports Partnership and the IWA we are hoping to develop a midlands multi sports club for people with physical disabilities.
-‘Sports For All’ days becoming a regular sports day in schools to create awareness about inclusion games for all.
-A website/forum/App/social media outlet that everyone has access to, where all things to do with inclusion are shared including grant information, transport information, social opportunities/events, sports clubs and all physical activity related news.