Northern Sport Accessibility Initiative

The North Sport Accessibility Initiative (NSAI) was a three year pilot project which aimed to expand access to sport and recreation for people with disabilities living in Northern B.C. Announced at the end of the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, this initiative was a partnership between the Province of British Columbia, Canadian Paralympic Committee and viaSport.

What did viaSport do? 

NSAI supported local change-makers to increase access to quality sport, recreation and physical activity for persons with disabilities living in Northern B.C. to ensure long-term positive impact. Fewer services, inaccessible facilities, lack of awareness and smaller populations can restrict opportunities to physical activity, recreation and sport to those with a disability. In pursuing a grassroots approach to building local champions, viaSport recognized that all communities, including those in Northern B.C., are diverse and unique. In an attempt to bring about impactful change for persons with disabilities in these communities, it hoped to draw from the local expertise, energy and ideas of those delivering sport, recreation and physical activity at the community level.

To do so, viaSport piloted an innovative approach to granting that will support community-driven change with a new user-friendly NSAI Audit Tool and Grant.

How did the Audit Tool help?

The Audit Tool, completed as part of the grant application process, built awareness for the multiple dimensions of accessibility, known as the Six Pillars of Accessibility. This Audit Tool helped applicants reflect on their current organization and programing, and encouraged them to consider the multiple ways that grant funding could be used to reduce barriers to participation and enhance the quality of participant experiences.

Organizations would then be able to request NSAI grant funding based on the summarized gaps identified in the Audit Tool, empowering them to increase accessibility based on the specific needs and realities of their community, organization and programming.