Community sport participants, newcomers to disability sport and emerging Para-athletes are all set to benefit from a new funding initiative announced today by Sport Australia and the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

With participants often requiring unique and modified equipment to take part in sport and physical activity, the APC Para-Sport Equipment Fund will enable eligible applicants and carers to seek funding for equipment such as sport-specific wheelchairs, prosthetics, adapted or modified seating and handcycles.

The Fund kicks off with an initial $1m investment from Sport Australia and future additional revenue opportunities will be sought by the APC through corporate sponsorship and donations, direct response appeals, equipment partners and more.

Three-time Paralympic gold medallist Kurt Fearnley helped launch the Fund at an event in Sydney this morning and warmly welcomed the initiative.

“For some people with disabilities, just getting to the starting line can be a barrier and so the Para-Sport Equipment Fund will build on opportunities and inclusiveness in Australian sport,” said Fearnley, an APC Board Member.

“I’m appealing to everyone in the disability community, from cities to small county towns, and across all age groups, to spread the message about this great opportunity to get active and dream big.”

Sport Australia launched its Move It Aus campaign this year and CEO Kate Palmer said the Para-Sport Equipment fund will get even more Aussies involved in sport and physical activity.

“Sport Australia and the Australian Paralympic Committee share the common aim of increasing the number of people with a disability participating in sport at all levels,” said Palmer.

“The whole nation has already been buoyed by outstanding role models such as Kurt Fearnley and Madison de Rozario, and we’re pleased that initiatives like the APC Equipment Fund will help continue to grow sport and physical activity across the disability community.”

A joint APC/Victoria University Research survey has highlighted the issues poor equipment can cause people with a disability. A total of 45 per cent of respondents identified additional sport injury risks for a person with a disability, compared to a person without a disability, due to factors associated with poor/limited choice of appropriate equipment.

“The cost and suitability of equipment can be problematic, whether that’s for our emerging elite athletes or those who simply want to have a go for the first time,” said APC CEO Lynne Anderson.

“The APC has a great track record of assisting athletes to identify the right equipment and capitalise on their abilities and skills, but this Fund will expand on that and be of great benefit across all Para-sport.

Delivery of the Para-Sport Equipment Fund will be multiple methods, including direct equipment purchases, equipment loan opportunities – partnering with organisations and offer greater options for new athletes – and equipment innovation assistance.

Applications for the Para-Sport Equipment Fund can be made at https://www.paralympic.org.au/programs/equipment-fund/

By APC and Sport Australia

Posted: 14/11/2018

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