Students design adventure programme for people with disabilities

Monday, August 26, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

Outdoor Education students work with Mayo Sports Partnership on national initiative

Students from the BA (Hons) in Outdoor Education programme recently designed and facilitated a programme of adventure sports on Lough Lannagh for people with disabilities, as part of a national project called ‘Xcessible - Inclusive Outdoors Initiative’.

The GMIT students designed a programme that was both accessible but challenging, enabling the participants to share the excitement and connection to the natural world experienced in adventure sports. It involves two key elements of land and water with the participants experiencing open boat canoeing and adapted team orienteering.

The students were evaluated on their work as part of their “Experiential Learning module”, which is a component of their honours degree programme.

The initiative was co-ordinated locally by Ray McNamara of Mayo Sports Partnership, Mayo County Council, Nigel Jennings, Sports Officer, GMIT Castlebar, and Stephen Hannon Lecturer in Outdoor Education at GMIT. It was formally launched on campus last month (December) by the Mayor of Castlebar Brendan Heneghan and Denis Toomey, Manager of the successful Irish Paracyling team.

Stephen Hannon, Lecturer on the Outdoor Education degree programme at GMIT, Castlebar, says: “Despite the challenging weather conditions, the participants expressed delight with their activities.”

“In addition to being evaluated on their work, two of the fourth year students, Mark O Connor and Tommy Gaffney, were filmed and interviewed by staff from CARA National Adapted Physical Activity Centre who are running the initiative in co-operation with local Sports Partnerships around the country.”

Ray McNamara, Mayo Sports Partnership, says: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with GMIT in providing activities for people with a disability. This programme continues on from collaborations on initiatives such as the ‘Sport for All’ conference in 2011 and community adventure sports days which have been tremendously successful”.

Anyone interested in taking part in this special sports adventure programme, please contact Mayo Sports Partnership, tel: 094 9047025, email: