ParaFed Bay of Plenty re-launched tomorrow

By Kelly Exelby

A decade after the final remnants of a geographically-splintered organisation disappeared, ParaFed Bay of Plenty will be re-launched tomorrow promoting sport and recreation opportunities for the region's disabled.
The launch comes after 18 months of behind-the-scenes planning by a working party, with backing from Sport Bay of Plenty staff and Paralympics New Zealand.
Neil Cudby, ParaFed Bay of Plenty's working party chairman, said the formation of a regional umbrella group for disabled sport had come about because of an obvious void.
"There's huge potential in Bay of Plenty, and the area is a nice place for people with disabilities to live, but it's been 10 years since ParaFed was active here - and even then it was separate organisations working in Western Bay, Eastern Bay and Rotorua.
"ParaFed slowly died a death for a host of reasons, including a decline in volunteerism and the national body stepping away from the grassroots in the mid-1990s."
SPARC had put up $750,000 for the revitalisation of ParaFed nationally, with Bay of Plenty getting funding for a fulltime development officer working between Sport Bay of Plenty's three offices early next year.
The working party - guided by Sport BOP's Greg Cummings and including Cudby, Whakatane's Bronwyn Fox, Mt Maunganui's Bryce McFall and Tauranga husband-and-wife Wendy and Alan Neilson - had spent 18 months overhauling the organisation's constitution.
ParaFed's main thrust would be connecting the disabled with sport and recreation opportunities at every level and also ensuring facilities were accessible.
"Whereas in the past there's been a lot of stuff happening, there hasn't been a lot of conduit between events, so we want people talking to each other and to link people with sports," Cudby said.


Whakatane's bi-annual Eve Rimmer Games is set to become an annual tri-series of events in Whakatane, Rotorua and Tauranga.
Paralympics New Zealand's project manager, Dave Stewart, said ParaFed Bay of Plenty would play an integral part in the pathway of athletes with a disability, from participation to high performance sport.
Cudby said it was likely the working party would become ParaFed BOP's new board tomorrow, with any gaps covered by the three independently appointed members.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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