The Campaspe One and All Inclusion Project has achieved a great deal in three years and hopes to continue its success for many years to come.By Ivy Wise
The Campaspe One and All Inclusion Project is looking ahead to a sustainable future.
The project, which started two-and-half years ago, works with schools and the community to provide children with a disability greater opportunity to integrate with their mainstream peers, through organised sports and activity days.
Former project officer Phillip Evans said the community driven project survived from club grants, government and philanthropic funding and more financial support was being sought to keep it running in the future.
‘‘Most programs like this only survive with their initial funding, but nearly three years down the track and we have achieved phenomenal success,’’ he said.
‘‘The project has reached the next stage and, obviously, to remain sustainable, it needs funding.’’
The project received initial funding of $65,000 in 2010, which lasted 18 months.
Over the years, Murray Meander has provided $30,000 for the annual Queenscliff camp, while YMCA Greater Murray, Moama Bowling Club and Moama RSL have also provided financial support.
Jacqui Davies, who took over from Mr Evans in January last year, said her vision was to keep the project sustainable because the benefits to the community were invaluable.
‘‘It teaches kids with a disability to overcome adversity, be proud of who they are and become more independent and their able-bodied peers better relate to and understand people with a disability,’’ Miss Davies said.
‘‘It’s also been so great to see (able-bodied) kids being so selfless and putting themselves out there to enrich other people’s lives.
‘‘The highlight for me has been watching mainstream kids working with kids with a disability. That’s where the magic happens.
‘‘They are spreading the message and these kids are teaching older generations to be inclusive.’’
What began as an Auskick program for disabled children in 2009, which led to a match with Echuca Junior Football Club, became the Campaspe One and All Inclusion Project in July 2010.
That year, the project saw two football matches played against Echuca United and Moama juniors, while Lockington-Bamawm United under 14s also played a match against the Rockets in 2011.
Netball was also incorporated into the agenda with the Rockettes created.
The third annual Queenscliff camp is on March 20, with 14 Echuca Specialist School students and 16 Echuca College to spend three days together at the historic seaside village.
The All Stars basketball game is on again this year, with Campaspe Shire providing $2000 in community grants and Echuca Workers and Services Club donating $1000.
Another major event is the One and All Inclusion Fun Day on the last Sunday in November.
Sponsored by YMCA Victoria, the event draws thousands of people to Echuca Racecourse for a day of free activities and inclusiveness for the community and is growing each year.
However, Miss Davies said the biggest achievement in her time as co-ordinator was the inaugural One and All Debutante Ball in October.
Twenty young adults with disabilities from Echuca Specialist School and Murray Human Services, partnered by 18 students from Echuca College and two from Rochester Secondary College, made their debut at the Paramount Theatre.
‘‘The deb ball just summed up what this project is all about,’’ she said.
‘‘Parents of children with a disability got to experience something they didn’t ever expect to and that was equally matched with parents of their partner’s tears of pride.
‘‘Everyone was touched by it in some way. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to see so many people grow from this experience.’’
If you are a business or club and would like to contribute financially to the project, contact Miss Davies at YMCA Greater Murray on 5482
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