Western Futures participants with VU staff, and Vice-Chancellor Peter Dawkins
Western Futures participants with VU staff, and Vice-Chancellor Peter Dawkins

Despite the affect social distance had on relationships of all kinds, established partners VU Sport and Western Futures, an organisation that provides support for young people with disabilities, have maintained close contact throughout both stages of lockdown.

VU Sport staff describe the experience.

After only getting to enjoy each other's physical company for a handful of sessions before the first set of restrictions ensued, a brief down period was interrupted by a mutual desire to bring our interactions online. Neither party have looked back since our first virtual meeting in early May, as from then onwards nearly every week has been brightened by the smiles and laughs brought on by the fun we have had. Regardless of whether such expressions were triggered by a funny answer to an odd quiz question or an unusual occurrence while practising our ball skills, they are signs of happiness and optimism in a time when maintaining these sentiments is made quite difficult.

In spite of the importance that joy possesses in times like these, both the Western Futures students and our hosts have also had the opportunity to learn a variety of new skills.

Just as we have had to get creative in scouring both our minds and the internet to keep the content of our sessions fresh while figuring our way around online platforms and games such as Kahoot, Quiplash and Drawful, the students have had to adapt to all our crazy ideas on the fly.

While the process of delivering programs online is very rarely without issues, the challenges faced have only brought on development and growth for all involved.

As our department is inspired by a mantra that promotes the importance of social connection and physical activity in maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle, we were delighted to learn that the sessions are widely regarded as a highlight of people’s weeks. From this, it is rather safe to conclude that our regular catch ups have made life a bit better for everyone involved, which satisfyingly sees us living up to our motto.

VU Sport would like to thank the Western Futures for being such a pleasure to work with, as their support of and dedication to the program has made it all that it is today.

Contact us

Conor O'Farrell
VU Sport

The Western Futures Program

The Western Futures Program has been providing support for young people with disabilities for over 20 years. The program runs the Certificate 1 in Transition Education and offers scaffolded learning opportunities. 

The student cohort who are keen to continue their studies after finishing secondary school are enrolled in a program that assists them in developing a broad range of independent living and working skills. We enable students to sample various environments, hospitality, office administration, horticulture, retail and IT, as well as sport, recreation and creative options that lead to students being equipped to make informed choices about their future.