My name is Jessica Scannell. I am the Welcome to the Game Coordinator for Welcoming Australia in Victoria. Welcome to the Game improves access to sport and recreation opportunities for children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds living with autism, disabilities and/or additional needs in their local communities. Welcome to the Game focuses on increasing opportunities in three key sports: Swimming, Basketball and Soccer. Welcome to the Game programs are run in partnership with local delivery partner clubs and swim centres in geographic areas where there are already high levels of diversity within the demographics of the community. Our aims are to build capacity and confidence of delivery partners (including funding educational opportunities for staff like Autism Swim) to provide opportunities that meet the needs of our target cohort and build confidence and awareness of participants and their familiies to attend and enjoy. Welcome to the Game programs are designed to “kick-start” eligible children and young people’s involvement in sport. The relationships and sense of belonging forged with local delivery partners help to make that participation sustainable.
We run Welcome to the Game programs at various community swim centre locations.
Funding is limited, for eligible participants and tied to accessing programs . To be eligible, participants must meet the following three criteria:
1) Be born overseas, have a parent born overseas or speak a language other than English at home.
2) Identify with having a disability, autism or additional support needs (can be diagnosed or undiagnosed).
3) Be aged between 5 and 25.