Over the past number of Months, our Coordinator for the National Inclusion Awards has been incredibly busy working behind the scenes pulling everything together for Cara, and with only a few weeks to go, and the application process now closed, we wanted to let you hear her story.

“The National Inclusion Awards recognise people and organisations throughout the country who enhance participation opportunities for people with disabilities in sport, physical activity and physical education…..Over the last few months, I have repeated these words dozens of times, until they finally got stuck in my mind. Just like a summer hit, but better.

My name is Francesca Pizzutto, I am the Coordinator of the National Inclusion Awards 2017.

When people back home asked me what I was working on here

Applications for The National Inclusion Awards 2017
Map of Stars

in CARA, I was unable to translate those words into an accurate Italian sentence that made sense. I was born and raised in Italy, so I don’t think the problem was in the language itself. It’s just that the above sentence flow out of me after the words National-Inclusion-Awards. But as you might know, Italian people are not famous for their English fluency, so they usually stared at me without understanding a word of what I was saying.


So I tried to start from the beginning. I told them the story of people all over Ireland who get up each day to make a small change in the world, with dedication and commitment. I talked about how great it is to work with those people in the area of inclusion, and how I could feel that commitment just from a phone call or an email. They asked me what my role in all of this was. I answered that I was lucky to have the opportunity to coordinate a project that aims to acknowledge the work of these great people. The National Inclusion Awards.

I explained how they shared with us what they do, just answering three questions about their work in the last 12 months. I told them also about the fantastic photos and videos that I have collected in support of the many applications received from all around Ireland.

I added how, in their 6th year, we have decided to open up the Awards to people whose main mandate is to cater for people with disabilities, introducing three new categories – Disability Service, Disability Sports Club and Special Education. I was amazed by the huge response in those categories and by the overall quality of the applications received. They must have put some effort into collecting the information, I said to myself. I saw children smiling and posing or being too shy in front of a camera, and I imagined instructors planning their activities in order to record the best they do.

I saw a mom doing some video editing on her smartphone during her rare free time, and being surprised by the good result she achieved so easily. I imagined people reading the form, collecting information, writing down the first draft, not being happy enough, stepping back for a cup of tea…adding more details, uploading material to support them, reviewing their application and finally press “submit” (and having another cup of tea – it’s Ireland after all).

I also loved when staff in CARA got involved in the project and couldn’t help themselves from sharing their enthusiasm about a good quality application – “Have you checked their video?! It’s great!” – “Did you read this?! Oh, it’s so good!” – and seeing fervour in their eyes.

I was so happy when I realised that the participation throughout the country was incredible – more than 1 thousand people interacted with the Awards through our website, social media, emails and phone calls! I simply enjoyed every minute of the last few months, from the initial research and planning until the final download of every single photo uploaded…all I wanted to say is THANK YOU ALL for what you are doing and for taking part in the National Inclusion Awards 2017.

I have created the map above to represent the applications received. As you can see…it’s A sky full of stars! I sincerely hope to have the chance to meet you all soon.