Founder and Head Coach of the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program Jay Larkins has been recognised in the 2019 Westfield Local Heroes program.
Larkins was selected as one of three Westfield Chermside Local Heroes thanks to his dedication to making football accessible for people of all abilities.
Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program, with local leaders nominated and voted for by the community and the top three finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant to support the work they do in their community.
The Brisbane Paralympic Football Program was established in 2006 from Larkins’ determination to create an opportunity for his son Jarrod, who has cerebral palsy, to play football.
The program now provides opportunities for people of all abilities from across Brisbane to be involved in playing the game.
Larkins said he was humbled by the recognition he has received.
“I am truly humbled to be chosen by my community,” Larkins said.
“It is not a privilege for a community member of any ability to be involved [in football]. It is their right.
“You can only truly understand what the program means for participants by seeing them in action.”
The Brisbane Paralympic Football Program seeks to provide participants not only with the health benefits of staying active, but also with the opportunity to make friends, connect with the community and build confidence.
Larkins’ son Jarrod and four other program participants have also gone on to represent Australia in Paralympic football.
The $10,000 grant provided to the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program as part of the Westfield Local Heroes program will allow Larkins to buy uniforms for all players and volunteers, and to expand the program around the state.
Congratulations to Jay on the significant achievement and his continued work in the community.