SIDO Profile – Terry Donegan

SIDO - Terry DoneganContinuing on with our profiles of the incredible Sports Inclusion Disability Officers around Ireland, we met with Terry Donegan who works with Meath Local Sports Partnership

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

 I am 24 years old, I live in Collon Co. Louth and play with my Local GAA club Mattock Rangers. I have a big interest in all sports and really enjoy being active. 

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

I have had a strong interest in sport and physical activity all my life, hence why I choose the course in DKIT, as part of the course I done 13 weeks work placement with Meath LSP, during this time I had the opportunity to work with all different population groups.

I really enjoyed the work with disability groups and since then have assisted on the SIDO programme before taking over the role last year.

 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?)

PLC – Sports Injury Treatment (DIFE)

Level 8- Health and Physical Activity (DKIT)

Ø  Disability Inclusion Training

Ø  Autism In Sport

Ø  Sports Leader UK Tutor

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

The area I am responsible for is all the disability programmes, camps, events, club development, training and education and general support & advice. Another strand that falls under the disability programme is mental health, we have some different programmes running in conjunction with the HSE.

Social Media and promotion for the SIDO Programmes is also my responsibility as I look after a dedicated Facebook page specifically for the disability programmes.

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

The good thing about this role is that every day is different. A typical day would see my work based mainly at the desk getting back to parents, colleagues and organisations and preparing/planning for the different activities/programmes coming up. There may also be staff meetings on particular days as well as meetings with different organisations related to the SIDO role e.g. HSE.

1-2 Evenings a week I could be out at different SIDO programmes taking place around the county e.g. Learn 2 Cycle.

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

I have attended the past two national seminars for inclusion hosted by Cara which have been really helpful in up skilling and also give the opportunity to network. I have also linked with Cara with regards organising Education and Training, SIDO Networking Days & Fit 4 All week.

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

The support I have received from Cara since starting the role has been great, all the simple clear info on the website is really useful and can be passed onto coaches and volunteers.

Having more opportunities to meet with different SIDOs to help build and strengthen the network is important and, I feel with the new Sports Inclusion Coordinator role this will help grow the link between SIDOs and Cara.

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

Being able to help people is definitely the most rewarding part of the job, seeing the difference some of the programmes/ activities can make to people’s lives is fantastic.

Being out on the ground meeting people face to face and getting to see how the programmes have such a positive effect is the best part of the job.

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

One programme which was already established before I started in the Role was Learn 2 cycle, this programme aims to help children with a disability to Learn to cycle independently, the joy and satisfaction gained by both the children and parents is really great to see. Noel our instructor is fantastic with everyone and he helps to create a welcoming positive atmosphere.

 More recently the North East inclusion Days have taken place, an initiative in conjunction with Louth, Cavan and Monaghan LSP say three cross county inclusion sessions taking place, they all went really well and the adult services groups seemed to enjoy both the activities and the social elements to the day.

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

The main aim for me in this role in Meath is to try maintain the standard which has been set by the previous SIDOs the great work they have done has helped so many people around the county and I hope to continue with this standard.

I also hope to grow in knowledge and confidence within the role as time goes on.

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

The one initiative that comes to mind at the minute is the establishment of an IWA junior sports club in Meath, at the moment we are in the initial set up phase and I would hope to see the club grow over the coming years.

Club development is also something I’d be keen to push over the coming years, we have a small number of GAA, soccer and Rugby clubs with inclusive teams, I would hope we could help increase the numbers.