FREDERICTON (GNB) — The Province of New Brunswick is providing Para NB with a grant of $50,000 for a pilot project to provide access to youth-adapted sport and recreation equipment for students with a disability.

“As a government, we’re focused on building an inclusive education system in which all students have the opportunity to learn and thrive in classrooms as well as in sport and recreation activities,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Marie-Claude Blais.  “This investment will help ensure students with a disability can access special equipment that will enable them to be more active and more involved in sport and recreation.”

The funding will help Para NB purchase adapted sport and recreation equipment and devices for all students to engage in parallel sport and recreation in physical education.  The equipment, such as multi-sport wheelchairs and hockey sledges, will then be made available through Para NB’s provincial adapted Equipment Loan Service. Physical education specialists can borrow this equipment free of charge for use by students. It will also provide more professional development opportunities for physical education teachers who provide inclusive parallel sport and recreation activities.

Courtenay Brennan, Manager of Para NB, said it’s important for all students to have opportunities at school to develop physical literacy and the fundamental movement skills needed to be active for life.

“Many people with a disability want to take part in sport and recreation, but face barriers such inaccessible facilities and a lack of both adapted equipment and programs,” Brennan said.  “Specialized adapted equipment is very costly and not readily available to individuals and schools. The Inclusive Parallel Sport and Recreation in Schools Pilot Project will assist in providing the necessary equipment needed to create a more supportive environment for students who have a physical disability and give all students an opportunity to engage in parallel sport and recreation.”

Para NB promotes the development and coordination of a system to engage New Brunswickers with a physical disability in parallel sport, recreation and active living.  Its work is focused on individuals with a physical disability, sport and recreation organizations, schools, leaders and coaches. The program is hosted by Ability New Brunswick and overseen by a management team consisting of Ability New Brunswick, Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic, the Department of Healthy and Inclusive Communities, Recreation New Brunswick and Sport New Brunswick.