IMAS is thrilled to announce an exciting new partnership with Abilities Centre, based in Whitby, Ontario, Canada.
Abilities Centre is an internationally renowned, innovative community hub where people of all ages and abilities can enrich their lives by engaging in social, health, and cultural programs. The organisation, established in 2012, serves more than 100,000 visitors each year, helping people of all abilities pursue their goals, developing programs and services to enhance health and well-being, social inclusion and economic participation and bringing this inclusionary model to life across Canada.
Abilities Centre was one of the earliest overseas organisations to sign the MA Manifesto back in 2017, and since then a natural alignment has arisen between the two organisations.
Stuart McReynolds – Ability Centre’s CEO – has said: “Abilities Centre is proud to partner with IMAS and add Mixed Ability Sport to the list of signature programs that we offer. There has been a natural alignment between our two organizations, with a focus on embedding accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of society, influencing social change, where our values are lived through action.
The support from the IMAS team has empowered us to make an immediate impact in Canada as we look to provide opportunities for mass sport participation across the country. Through our partnership, we are excited to join the global Mixed Ability Sport movement, and to enable people of all ages and abilities to realize the universal benefits that sport brings.”
In March 2020, prior to the lockdown, IMAS was privileged enough to deliver Mixed Ability training to an Abilities Centre’s team, enabling a pool of expert staff to begin the process of recruiting local trainers who are ‘experts by experience’.
IMAS Director Mark Goodwin said: “We were fortunate to arrive back in the UK just prior to lockdown and are grateful to our new partners in Canada, Abilities Centre who organised an early return home from Ontario. Abilities Centre are a fantastic organisation, committed to the Mixed Ability vision, who work hard to achieve real change. Post lockdown the AC trainers guided by skilled staff will be visiting community clubs and leisure centres to grow the MA offer across Ontario and ultimately across Canada. IMAS will be supporting this expansion for at least four years and hopefully way beyond.
Co-director Martino Corazza added: “This new partnership highlights once more the growing interest in, and influence of Mixed Ability globally. We believe the actions we’ll develop with Abilities Centre will be beneficial to both organisations. Our intention is to work closely together, to develop and trial inclusive programmes, implement research and learn from each other. Ultimately, the knowledge will be shared with the wider international network, benefitting many individuals, clubs and communities all over the world.”