SIDO Profile – Teresa O’Meara

Teresa O'MearaThe role of a SIDO is rewarding and varied, we are delighted to have met with Teresa O’Meara from Carlow Sports Partnership to hear about her background and life as a Sports Inclusion Disability Officer

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

I am 34 years old from Carlow and have been working in the Sport Industry for 15 years.  I have always had a massive interest in Sports and loved hockey & netball in School.   I also have a keen interest in horse riding and teach in the local pony club & have competed both Nationally and Internationally in different equestrian events.

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

I have always had such a passion with helping adults and children with additional needs become more active.  I worked for a summer at Barretstown and I have volunteered with a couple of activities with Special Olympics.  I started with a few hrs a week with Carlow Sports Partnership and when the full-time position became available I jumped at the chance!

 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 studies reflex my passion for sport!!  Qualifications I have included:

·         BA in Leisure Management

·         FETAC LEVEL 5 Youth Work

·         NCEHS Gym Instructor & Personal Trainer

·         FETAC level 5 Sport and Recreation Studies

·         FETAC level 5 Business Studies

·         CARA Autism in Sport

·         CARA Disability Inclusion Training

·         CARA Inclusive Leisure centre Training

·         RLSS National Pool Lifeguard

·         Assistant & Full Swimming Instructor

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

I have been in the position of full time SIDO in Carlow for a year and a half now.  The areas I am responsible for is all the disability programmes, camps, events, club development, training and education and general support & advice & consulting & working with people with additional needs to identify the need for new activities.

I would also look after promoting the disability programme on our social media including Facebook, Instagram and twitter.

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

I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day with the SIDO programme.  One day could be in the office organising camps, the next day could be at a golf course or facilitating a camp and then I could be providing advice to teachers on the phone or visiting a school to help them become more inclusive.

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

We have linked with CARA to provide different course including Disability Inclusion Training and Autism in Sports Workshops.  CARA also provide advertising for our activities through social media.  It is great to know that CARA is there at the other end of the phone if something comes up that I need support with.

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

Cara already support me really well in my role, I would love CARA to provide more training for SIDOS to be able to deliver the Autism in Sport workshop or give SNAs a bit more help. Having a new Sports Inclusion Coordinator available on the phone or emails is helpful if needed!

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

This must be the enjoyment that the participants get from participating in a sport and feeling part of a team.  Some mainstream activities the participants can feel very left out it is brilliant to be able providing opportunities for people to do things that they thought they might never get to do.

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

Last year along with Leinster Rugby and Carlow RFC we formed the County Carlow Bees which is an inclusive tag rugby team.  It was amazing to see Carlow Rugby Club take on this initiative and local businesses getting involved by sponsoring jerseys and jackets.  Carlow will be holding their first inclusive blitz on July 7th.

This year we have worked alongside Carlow GAA and will have our first Inclusive Cul Camp and hopefully after this camp we will be able to start a football for All initiative.



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

Over the next five years, I would love to see myself facilitating several inclusive programmes in County Carlow as well as supporting clubs to cater for people of varying abilities. I would like to continue to learn myself and share my knowledge.

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

I plan for the local clubs in Carlow to provide more inclusive activities and I plan to have an annual sports abilities day in Carlow to provide anyone with information and to come and try activities that they previously wouldn’t have been able to.