Over forty rangatahi from Lytton High School, Campion College, Gisborne Girls High and Gisborne Intermediate took part in Futsal Festival for the whaikaha (disability) community.
Central Football alongside Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti, adapted the traditional futsal elements to fit the needs of those who have physical or mental learning obstacles.
“The games and activities have been really interactive and achievable,” said Gisborne Intermediate Kaiako Michaela Boyle.
“It’s been great seeing so many students be successful during the activities and be supported and encouraged by all facilitators and staff. There are also many opportunities for students to explore skills individually and in a team.”
The basic modifications of football allowed rangatahi to find a way to participate in sport that works for them, and not against them. It allowed them to be active and build relationships so that they don’t miss out on quality sporting experiences.
“It’s wonderful to be able to provide opportunities that may not necessarily be readily available to the students and fantastic to see them having so much fun,” said Central Football Special Projects Manager John McGifford.
“Seeing the smiles on so many faces was incredibly fulfilling, and we look forward to the programme becoming an annual event.”
Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti is seeking out other clubs or codes that want to jump on board and provide similar opportunities for whaikaha in their respective sport.
“The four-week Futsal Festival was such a great experience to see sport codes and the whaikaha community work together to create more opportunities, connect and have fun,” said Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti Manawakura Advisor Courtney Stubbins.
“Traditional sports don’t always work for our communities that face barriers, so we need to be responsive to ensure that we are providing opportunities for all of our rangatahi. We would love to hear from any other codes or clubs who are interested in finding ways to be more inclusive.”