Parafed Bay of Plenty leaving no one on the sidelines

For people born with physical disabilities and for those who develop one later in life through illness or injury, opportunities for many day-to-day tasks or activities are often limited. 

Since 2010, locals throughout Tauranga, Western Bay, and the wider Bay of Plenty region with physical disabilities have been given the opportunity to be physically active through the support and hard work of Parafed Bay of Plenty.

Parafed BOP stands out by considering physical activity as a fundamental right for all, regardless of their abilities. They believe that everyone should have the chance to discover a sport, recreation, or play activity that they enjoy and that empowers them to explore their potential.

Over the years, the team at Parafed BOP has been dedicated to ensuring that their members have a range of opportunities available to try.

Through direct support to families, collaboration with a wide range of local sporting codes, and offering a range of recreational options such as Amazing Races, Surf Sessions, and Beach Splash, Parafed BOP provides diverse and inclusive services. They also work closely with schools, offering a Play Programme for Tamariki.

Parafed BOP's Executive Officer, Ian McDonald aptly describes their work as a pebble in a pond. The positive change they bring to one person's life creates a ripple effect, benefiting the individual’s family and surrounding community.

“We have over 240 current members, and we see the efforts of our work impacting more than just the member, the person with a disability,” says McDonald, “We see parents and siblings being able to take part in a sport or activity with their child, brother or sister, schools learning how to include all of their students in new ways, and sports codes becoming more adaptive.”

“One of the keys to our success is working with other groups and organisations,” says McDonald, “We help not only those with the disability but those around them become more confident in participating in adaptive sports, recreation or play activities and how to involve others. Ensuring that no one is left on the sidelines.”

Wanting to get people active, Parafed BOP team members aim to identify the barriers that limit people's ability to be active. Their team spends a lot of time speaking with members to learn how to make things easier, as they know that unless you speak to those directly impacted or limited, you won’t get the offerings right.

Tauranga and Western Bay funder TECT recently granted $35,000 to Parafed BOP for operational costs and the purchase of a new vehicle.

TECT Trustee Rachael Gemming says TECT wants Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty to be vibrant places where people, families, and communities thrive.

“Supporting Parafed BOP through community grants allows us to offer support to some of our communities experiencing the highest needs to ensure they can operate, manage their assets or hire a suitable space to ensure people can continue participating in sports, recreation and play activities,” says Gemming.

“We aim to help strengthen local organisations so they can create long-term social change, enabling the region to thrive. Parafed BOP allows its members to build confidence and participate in their community.”

TECT also supports Parafed BOP’s annual Healthvision Festival of Disability Sport through the Tauranga Western Community Event Fund (TWBCEF). The Fund is a collaboration between local funders Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council to provide streamlined access to funding for community events.


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