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Melton Pioneer Recognised

Ewen McRae

9 June 2020

Basketball Victoria Country

A dedication to inclusion and togetherness has seen Melton’s Emily Attard recognised by Basketball Victoria at their annual awards.

Ms Attard is the founder of Specialist Hoops, a weekly program that offers basketball for locals living with a disability that has grown from just five participants in 2018 to nearly 50 this year.

Basketball Victoria last month named her their winner of the Contribution by a Female to Diversity and Inclusion award, describing her as “a beacon of positivity and encouragement.”

“I was shocked when I found out,” Ms Attard said.

“I just looked at my phone at one point and I had about 20 messages, so I was really surprised and honoured to win the award.

“I always knew the program would grow, but it didn’t realise it would grow into what it is now. The impact the program has had on the lives of so many has been incredible and great to be a part of.

“It’s amazing to see our local program recognised on a state level. I’ve had calls from other groups in other parts of the state wanting advice on how to set up a program in their community, so that’s exciting.”

While Specialist Hoops has been on hiatus since March due to COVID-19, Ms Attard and her team have ensured their tight knit community of basketball enthusiasts has stayed connected ahead of a re-start later in the year.

“We’ve set some challenges for our participants that they can do from home and video around, and that’s helped us all stay connected,” she said.

“Our Friday Zoom sessions have been great to see everyone each week as well and bring some happiness into everyone’s houses, but we can’t wait till we can get back and start playing some basketball again.”

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