Building partnerships in the community

Building partnerships in the community

Partnerships are essential for achieving successful inclusion in sport. But, how do you find and connect with the right organisations and groups?

In this post I will share with you some suggested ways to find the right partners that support your inclusion objectives and to establish partnerships with them.

You will learn:

  • How to find partners in your local community
  • What to ask when you approach them

Partnerships can be formal (such as with memorandums of understanding, service agreements and contracts) and informal (a simple handshake agreement). Whatever the type of partnership there should be an agreement to work together towards achieving mutual goals for the inclusion of people within your centres activities and services.

But, its a two way street. Think about what you can offer your partners as much as what they can offer you.

General Tips

  • The information in this section is not definitive, so use it as a start point
  • Make sure you look locally - use google, contact your council, community service and health care providers
  • Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and have a chat. A good conversation is always better than an email.
  • If an organisation you contact, can't help, isn’t interested or isn’t the best fit, ask for a referral or recommendation.

What to ask potential partners

Here’s some prompter questions for your conversation:

  1. How can we best serve your clients/members/community?
  2. How can we make our facility, services and activities more attractive to your clients/members/community?
  3. How can we work together to achieve our mutual goals?
  4. Would you be happy to assist us in our efforts to achieve inclusion?


ISD Academy offers courses that help you - the club volunteer, the coach, the PE teacher, the sports administrator - take real action on inclusion.

Finding partners in the community

Below is a list of organisations and resources you can use as a start point for finding local partners.

This list is not definitive so use it as a start point and also do your own research locally.

Click each Tab for different target markets.


The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency. Thier role is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which will support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers. The NDIS will mean peace of mind for every Australian – for anyone who has, or might acquire, a disability.

Find NDIS offices, partners and local area coordinators here.

AFDO is an advocacy organisation working for long-term social change for people with disability. It works to make sure the rights and interests of people with disability are served through legislation, policies and practices. They have a number of member organisation operating nationally that represent various disability groups.

Find disability organisations here.

Physiotherapists are highly qualified health professionals who work in partnership with their patients to help people get better and stay well. Physiotherapists also work closely with GPs and other health clinicians to plan and manage treatment. GPs refer more patients to physiotherapists than any other healthcare profession. Physiotherapy extends from health promotion to injury prevention, acute care, rehabilitation, maintenance of functional mobility, chronic disease management, patient and carer education and occupational health.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) can connect you with local physiotherapists using their free search tool.

Find a local physiotherapist here.

Tip: Search for physios with an interest in ‘disability’

Occupational therapists are qualified health professionals who work with people of all ages and abilities to do the things they need and want to in all aspects of life, such as taking care of oneself and others, working, volunteering, and participating in hobbies, interests and social events.Occupational therapists call these things “occupations”. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the occupations of everyday life.

Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) can connect you with local occupational therapists using their free search tool.

Find a local occupational therapist here.

Tip: Use the ‘Areas of expertise’ filter to narrow your search.

Special schools provide alternative educational settings for students with high-level needs and cater for students with disability, or for students whose needs are better met by flexible learning structures that may not be available in all mainstream schools.

Find your local special school here.

Tip: Many mainstream schools also have special needs education units, simply contact your local schools to find out.

I hope you found these community partners tips useful.

Did you manage to connect with any local organisations? Share your experience in comments.

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