Creating opportunities for disabled young athletes out West

Covid-19 hit all budding young athletes hard. Both lockdowns saw sports grind to a halt across Auckland as restrictions kicked in.

A charitable organisation, the Halberg Foundation aims to support physically disabled young people participate in sport. And this goal is more important than ever in today’s challenging times.

Halberg was founded in 1963 by Olympic legend, Sir Murray Halberg. A recipient of $5,380 from the Your West Support Fund, Halberg has put the money towards a Lead Adviser for Central and West Auckland. James Glen’s role is to promote inclusive sports programmes and events throughout West Auckland.

James has been busy building connections with local schools, sports organisations and clubs.

‘My job is to support physically disabled young people and their families to connect with sports and active recreation opportunities,’ explains James.

One recent example of James in action is his work with Hobsonville Point Secondary School. Arohanui Special School has a satellite unit on site. Staff and students at Hobsonville Point helped to facilitate three different activity sessions for 25 Arohanui students.

‘It was amazing to see the integration of all the students having fun and learning something about themselves and others,’ says James.

‘It was a truly inclusive session, which we hope the students of Hobsonville Point Secondary School will be able to replicate in the coming weeks.’

James has also been helping Lincoln Heights School identify funding options to buy specialised trikes. The school has a new bike track and is hoping to enable students with physical or visual impairments to join in the fun.

It’s a varied role, and James has also been involved with the Halberg’s Activity Fund. According to James, there have been some great applications from Westies. One young person will receive one-to-one CrossFit coaching. And a secondary school student is eagerly anticipating personalised surfing lessons.

Unfortunately, due to Covid, the Hallberg Foundation had to cancel its annual Saint Kentigern Adapted Sports Day. However, James and the team organised an adapted sports session with the Lincoln Heights Kahukura Unit. This meant West Aucklanders didn’t miss out altogether.

Covid-19 has undoubtedly put pressure on schools, sports clubs and organisations as well as young people with disabilities.

‘Thanks to the Your West Fund, Halberg can continue creating opportunities for physically disabled young Kiwis that will have a lasting impact,’ says James.

‘Many thanks to The Trusts for their help in making this happen.’

The Your West Support Fund has been used to assist over 100 local groups experiencing an increased demand for services during the pandemic.