Australia’s first blind soccer pitch has been recognised at the 2018 Disability and Sport Recreation Awards.
The new blind pitch at North Melbourne Recreation Reserve took home an award for Victoria’s best Inclusive Sport, Recreation or Open Space Infrastructure, having only launched in March 2018.
Held at Southbank on Wednesday 1 August, the awards recognise the achievements of people with disability, those who support them and the inclusive sport and recreation sector across Victoria.
People City Portfolio Chair Councillor Beverley Pinder says the award is a significant step towards the City of Melbourne’s objective to be an inclusive and accessible city for all Victorians.
“This is Australia’s first blind soccer pitch and we hope this pitch is a catalyst for more inclusive amenities across recreation centres in Australia.
“The new pitch is a meaningful way that we can provide access to people who are visually impaired and an important step in making sure Melbourne’s sports facilities are accessible to everyone.”
The soccer pitch is part of the City of Melbourne’s recent $1.5 million landscape upgrade at the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve, regularly hosting weekly sessions for people with vision impairment, with future training and competition schedules in the pipeline for blind soccer.
The multi-purpose sports pitch also hosts basketball, futsal and netball and is built alongside a new community picnic area and public exercise equipment which is able to be enjoyed and shared by all community members.
Chief Executive Officer of Disability Sport and Recreation Richard Amon, says this year’s winners showcased the diverse nature of the disability sport and recreation sector and was delighted to see North Melbourne Recreation Reserve take home an accolade.
“One of the wonderful things about these awards is that we get to see the remarkable accomplishments of so many different people and organisations,” he says.
“The North Melbourne Recreation Reserve’s approach to inclusivity and making sport and recreation a better place for everyone sets the bar for Victoria.
“The awards represent the strength of human spirit and genuine desire to help and support others to achieve their goals and the Council’s efforts to create an inclusive and accessible environment at North Melbourne Recreation Reserve for all is a great example of this spirit.”
“It is the level of commitment and dedication to success – whether that be through competition or by making sport and recreation a better, more inclusive space, that inspires me every year.
For more information on the blind soccer pitch, watch this video.
To find out more about the 2018 Disability and Sport Recreation Awards or read the full list of winners and finalists click here.
For more information on disability support and services, please visit DisabilitySupportGuide.com.au