Monday, January 30, 2017

Growing Demand for Cricket Creates All Abilities Leagues

In Australia, cricket and summer go hand-in-hand. Its’ popularity evident in the number of series and tournaments that occur during the summer season, from Boxing Day Tests, through to the Big Bash League. It is no wonder that cricket is Australia’s number one participation sport.  

However, for some Aussies donning the whites, grabbing a bat and going out onto the cricket pitch isn’t as easy as it sounds, or should be. People with disability often have a desire to participate but barriers exclude them.

Not for much longer though. New, all abilities, integrated leagues in Victoria and Western Australia have been created (as well as South Australia and NSW).

The aim of the leagues are to create inclusive environments for players and to bridge the gap between able-bodied players and persons with disability, whether physical or intellectual.

Games are played on the same venues and at the same time as other games, with only minimal moderations to build confidence and create inclusiveness.

Participants have expressed excitement about the inclusive leagues “I see this as another way to make friends and to keep fit”.

The success of the leagues could not have been achieved without the determination and determination from volunteers and members of the cricket clubs to bring these leagues to fruition.

For more information about inclusive sports clubs and activities in your area, contact IDEAS on 1800 029 904 or visit

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Where does hope lie, when leaders aren't even embracing diversity? 

[Image depicts actress Meryl Streep holding her Golden Globe and giving her acceptance speech]

At the recent Golden Globes, during her acceptance speech, Meryl Streep, in an unnamed accusation, highlighted the incident where Donald Trump, the US President-elect, mocked a reporter with a disability.

There was huge outcry from media, celebrities and the general public. Donald Trump retaliated saying that Meryl was ‘overrated’ and denied mocking the reporter.

Whatever your thoughts about Meryl Streep, Donald Trump and Hollywood in general, she did raise some very important points.

If a person in a position of leadership, of power, can humiliate by mocking an individual in such a public forum, where they are unable to defend themselves, then what hope do the underrepresented in society have?

Humiliation is a form of bullying. If leaders are doing it, then others perceive it as an acceptable form of behaviour, giving permission to do it.

For too long, mocking, bullying and humiliation have been rife in society. Yes, there are certain attributes that make a leader such as confidence, stoicism and passion, yet there are so many other attributes that make a great leader such as open-mindedness, integrity and inspiration.

Perhaps some of the best leaders are those from a diverse background, where their abilities outweighed their disabilities. From large companies such as the founder of Braun Corporations to previous US President Roosevelt, knowing what opportunities inclusiveness brought made them great leaders, which is something that perhaps some of today’s leaders should think about implementing.

Luckily here in Australia, we are seeing far more stories about embracing diversity and greater rates of inclusiveness. Leaders, please take note: embrace diversity, realise that every person has different strengths and that there is opportunity to grow in every strength, whereby no opportunity is missed.

Wondering how you can become the next leader, why not get information from IDEAS on 1800 029 904 or

Monday, December 12, 2016

Accessible film screening gives unique opportunity

IDEAS recently sponsored the Access All Areas Film Festival Gala Screening, which took place on 4th December. It offered audiences the opportunity to experience the new Australian film, Red Dog: True Blue with a variety of accessible features and environments.

Red Dog: True Blue opens in cinemas on Boxing Day.  The world premiere of the film took place the night before the Gala Screening so the Gala audience were among the first people in the world to enjoy the film. It was important to the Festival organisers, The Bardic Studio, to offer this experience to people who so often have to wait until a film comes out on Blue ray. They hope to offer a new Australian film every year.

The film was popular with the audience and quite a few people said they’d been moved to tears at the end. There was an atmosphere of celebration as people expressed their pride in the standard of this new Australian film and chatted about their favourite moments. The two Red Dogs, Abby and Saffie, who were brought along by their generous handler Jamie, received an abundance of cuddles at the end of the screening as guests left the cinema.

This year, the Gala Screening moved to Event Cinemas Parramatta and was held on a Sunday at 11am. Many long term supporters attended and shared their experience of the growth and development of the Festival. There were also a lot of people attending for the first time and it was exciting to see the diversity of the audience.

The Gala screened in three screening rooms concurrently.  The first screening was with an audio description read live by Frances Mathey from Ericsson who also wrote the audio description for the film. The second screening was with open captions and Auslan interpretation by Yasmin. The third screening was a relaxed screening where people were welcome to be themselves and enjoy the film in whatever way they wished and move around as they needed to. There was also a chill out area adjacent to the screening room.

The organisers worked with Westfield Shopping Centre to create a document that detailed the best ways to access the building and get to the cinema complex. For the first time this year a Visual Story was created for the cinema complex and the film.

The 2016 Access All Areas Gala Screening stepped up the access offered by commercial cinema environments this year and the organisers are determined to build on those steps in 2017. They welcome feedback from the disability community, particularly ideas about additional features, supports or information that they can provide to enable more people to experience cinema with as much ease as possible. If you’d like to contribute your ideas please email