Disability Sport Wales hosted its first National Stakeholder Conference at the Cardiff City Stadium yesterday. The conference launched Disability Sport Wales vision of 'transforming lives through the power of sport' through to 2020. The main objective is for a more inclusive sporting Wales, where disabled people are able to decide when and where they play their sport and with whom.
The conference explored the progress over the past decade and a vision for the future with input from Welsh Government, Sport Wales, local authorities and governing bodies as well as contributions from elite athletes, coaches and current young ambassadors.
Eleven year old ambassador, Molly Hopkins from Abercrave began the day's proceedings by announcing "In a few years time I am going to be back here as a Paralympian! Right now, all I want to do is be able to play with my friends and do the same activities as them."
More than 160 decision makers and sports deliverers descended on the capital to think innovatively and to be challenged on how they begin to become more inclusive in their delivery of sport.
The conference was hosted by Sam Lloyd and double world champion and Paralympic Gold medallist Aled Sion Davies MBE who thanked the organisation "Disability Sport Wales gave me the opportunity to find my hidden talent and I know we want to continue to do that for the next generation...DSW are the leaders in bringing disabilities into sport but also the workplace as well and a lot of other organisations can learn from them."
Keynote speakers included the Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths AM, Peter Downs, National Manager at Play by the Rules & Director, The Inclusion Club, Canberra, Australia, Sarah Powell, CEO, Sport Wales and Fiona Reid, Innovation Manager at Disability Sport Wales who presented the organisations vision through to 2020.
Disability Sport Wales is committed to getting 'every disabled person hooked on sport for life'. This will be accomplished by driving Wales towards a more inclusive sporting landscape with long term cultural and philosophical change at the heart of the strategy. key partners need to recognise that disability sport must be an intrinsic central aspect of every organisation in Wales. If the vision is put into practice then Disability Sport Wales can achieve its mission of being an inclusive sporting-nation.
Jon Morgan, Executive Director, Disability Sport Wales said:-
"We are delighted that so many of our key partners have attended the conference, which indicates their commitment to supporting our vision. Whilst there has been tremendous progress over the past decade, there is much work still to be done as we challenge the principles of inclusion across all aspects of our sporting landscape.
The feedback we have received to the conference has been overwhelmingly positive and we are confident that the sector will respond to the challenge we have set today."
Sarah Powell, CEO, Sport Wales commented:
“It was an honour to speak at Disability Sport Wales’ first stakeholder conference. We are rightly proud in Wales of the success we have seen, at both elite and community level. This is very much down to the commitment and leadership of Disability Sport Wales and partners, demonstrating how through the power of sport they have been able to change the lives and the perceptions for children, young people and adults with a disability.
There’s no doubting the progress that we’ve made so far, and it is of course a cause for celebration but as ambitious organisations, both Sport Wales and Disability Sport Wales appreciate the need to collaborate and look at different solutions with new partners and sectors to ensure we all work together to deliver the transformational change required to make an inclusive Wales a reality.”