written by

Michael Woods (He/Him)

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.

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?

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.


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

Find a local physiotherapist here.

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

Find your local special school here.


FECCA is the peak, national body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. FECCA’s role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community. They have member organisation all over Australia servicing people in local communities.

Find a local FECCA member here.

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and people seeking asylum and those who support them. RCOA has around 200 organisational and over 1,000 individual members supporting refugees all around Australia.

Find a local RCOA member here.

The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) is the national peak body representing the rights and interests of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and those who work with them. MYAN has representatives from each of Australia’s states and territories who work at local level supporting young people from multicultural and migrant backgrounds to connect with their communities.

Find your state’s MYAN network organisation here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

NACCHO is the national peak body representing 143 Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) across the country on Aboriginal health and wellbeing issues.

Find a local NACCHO member here.

The indigenous.gov.au website has been developed to share information, news, stories and events that are of interest to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians or people working in Indigenous affairs. It includes a community finder tool that could help you connect with indigenous communities locally.

Find indigenous communities information here.

Aboriginal Land Councils give Aboriginal peoples a voice on issues affecting their lands, seas and communities.

Find regional Aboriginal Land Council information here.

Older People

National Seniors Australia is a member organisation representing older Australians on a range of issues affecting them. They have active branches all over the country.

Find your local National Seniors branch here.

Active Ageing Australia is a registered charity promoting physical activity for a lifetime of health and well-being. They support older people to maintain independent, healthy lifestyles, and participate in and contribute to the community.

Find a local Active Ageing Australia member organisation here.

The Men’s Shed movement has now become one of the most powerful tools in addressing health and wellbeing and helping men to once again become valued and productive members of our community. The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) is the peak body supporting almost 1000 Men’s Sheds and is recognised as one of Australia’s largest male based community development organisations. They can connect you with local sheds using their search tool.

Find a local Men’s Shed here.


The National LGBTI Health Alliance is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people (LGBTI) and other sexuality, gender, and bodily diverse people and communities. They have member organisations from all over Australia.

Find National LGBTI Health Alliance members here.

Gay sports clubs and associations operate around Australia bringing together the LGBTI community to get involved in sport and recreation opportunities.

There are groups representing clubs based in NSW, VIC, WA, SA and QLD.

ACON is a New South Wales based health promotion organisation specialising in HIV prevention, HIV support and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) health. ACON’s head office is in Sydney but they have offices in key regional locations and provide services throughout NSW. ACON also delivers the Pride Inclusion programs including Pride in Sport. Learn more about these programs here.

Find your nearest ACON office here.

I hope you found these community partners tips useful!

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