SIDO Profile – Lisa Kelly

Lisa Kelly“I love the feedback, which I’ve received from participants and their families about the range of opportunities they have to participate since the SIDO has been in post in DCSWP. ”

Meet Lisa Kelly, Sport Inclusion & Integration Officer for Dublin City Sport & Wellbeing Partnership.

First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I play rugby for My local Club Balbriggan RFC and I’m also involved in G4Ma’s in my local GAA club. I was involved in the setup of the Balbriggan RFC Stingers (special needs Rugby), While I have a keen interest and experience in Rugby and disability. I also sit on the IRFU national disability committee. I also currently manage the Irish Wheelchair Rugby 7’s team.


What motivated you to follow this career path? Was it always an area that you could see yourself being involved in professionally?

I’ve been involved with disability and sport capacity since 2002. During an internship in college I worked in Alaska setting up inclusive sports camps for children with and without disabilities in outback Alaska that inspired me to follow this area of work.  After I completed my M.A. in Sports Psychology I was SIDO in Co. Louth for two years before moving to the HSE/Disability sector. During my tenure in the disability sector, I ran a Special Olympics Club in service and volunteered with Special Olympics Eastern region. Outside of my employment, I was Chairperson of IWA sport NSEC for 5 years and sat on the board for a total of 7 years.


What areas have you studied as part of your career development? (i.e. what did you study in college and what further training/upskilling have you undertaken since?)

My undergraduate degree is a B.A. Recreation and Leisure, while my Masters is in Sports Psychology. During my career in HSE/Disability sector I pursued a number of clinical courses and educational, Communication  courses such as ISL (Irish Sign Language) Lamh (Sign for individuals with disabilities) these have benefitted me significantly in being able to better understand and provide sports and physical activity for certain individuals/groups. I’ve also completed QQI train the trainer courses and taught QQI modules to individuals with Disabilities. I’ve also been a Cara tutor since 2015 in Disability Inclusion Training and Autism in Sport training.


What areas are you responsible for in your role as a Sport Inclusion Disability Officer & how long have you been in post?

I’ve been in post with DCSWP since February 2019. My role is quite varied, from education and training both from a Cara perspective and a DCSWP perspective. I’m also responsible for assisting DSCWP and DCC staff with delivery of inclusive programmes, assisting DCC facilities on making their facilities and programmes accessible and inclusive.


What does a typical day look like for you in your role?

The role is unique in DCSWP with an additional remit for mental health, new communities, LGBT+ and members of travelling community. Every day is different; some are office based planning and prepping for programmes, while other days I could be out supporting DCC/DCSWP sports officers or co-funded NGB sports officers with programme delivery, liaising with Schools, Organisations and other NGB’s on programmes and developing policy.


How do you link with Cara as part of your role as a Sport Inclusion Officer?

I link with Cara in terms of delivery of Autism in Sport and Disability Inclusion Training course’s mainly. Cara are also very valuable in terms of providing resources to assist in delivery of information to NGB’s and organisations I link with.


How can Cara support you more in your role as Sport Inclusion Disability Officer?

Cara supports my role quite adequately, perhaps in terms of providing more research for People with disabilities and sporting opportunities. I feel Cara are in a prime position to assist SIDO’s and the LSP’s on larger scale by influencing HSE/Sport Ireland on more policies in terms of participation and provision of quality programmes which everyone can access.


What do you feel is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of your job?

The most enjoyable part is seeing individuals who have never participated before or who would lead sedentary lifestyles being more actively involved. I love the feedback, which I’ve received from participants and their families about the range of opportunities they have to participate since the SIDO has been in post in DCSWP. As the role is new in DCSWP I’m lucky that we can try new activities and open up Dublin city facilities to all.


Is there one particular initiative/event that you have been involved in through your role that you look on with great pride and satisfaction?

Champions Day is a sports taster event for Adults with Intellectual Disability. This year we had 207 adults over two days participate in various sports and dance activities. Another programme which I’m quite proud of is the Dublin GAA pilot project, in which I delivered Disability Inclusion training to 44 Dublin GAA GPO’s as part of the pilot.


How would you like to see yourself progressing within the job over the next five years?

I would like to develop sustainable programmes in DCSWP and support the SDO’s in DCSWP to make all their programmes accessible. I’d also like to develop robust policies and procedures so that everyone has access and opportunities to sport and physical activity across Dublin City.


Have you any ideas/initiatives that you would like to see developed over that time?

I’m currently working with Dublin GAA on a pilot GAA For All initiative which will operate in late summer. I’m also working with HADD/ADHD Ireland in running an inclusive summer camp for children with ADHD/HADD, so hopefully these pilots can be replicated countrywide if successful.