14 May, 2024

Access all-abilities basketball program a hit

After a long hiatus, the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association and Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly, alongside Rebecca McIntyre, who volunteers her time, has restarted an access all-abilities basketball program at the Horsham Basketball Stadium.

By Chris Graetz

Access all-abilities basketball program a hit - feature photo

The program is run every Thursday night from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and has been going for six months. The program focuses on skills, team-work, drills, games and fun, and is a massive hit with many athletes enjoying themselves, including McIntyre.

McIntyre said it's the best hour of her week.

"I always look forward to Thursday because it's undoubtedly the best hour of my week," McIntyre said.

"I love the sport of basketball and it reminds me of what we can do to give back to the community and I am exceptionally grateful to be running this program.

"Seeing these athletes being there and being around their friends and having fun is excellent. That's an important thing in life and sometimes we forget that."

McIntyre's father, Gary Bird, created a program in country Victoria for people with disabilities, and has an award named after him at Victorian Country Basketball, "The Gary Bird Award for outstanding contribution by a Male to diversity and inclusion."

The award goes to an individual who actively promotes diversity and inclusive excellence and has made an exemplary and outstanding contribution through a sustained commitment to improving opportunities for the diverse communities they serve.

McIntyre is looking at incorporating a tournament, with the first one on July 28, following on from her father's work.

"My family is going to donate a shield, "The Gary Bird" shield, and we are hoping to get athletes from Bendigo and Ballarat and other areas to play for it," McIntyre proudly said.

"It is something I can carry on in his name and something I can do in his memory. He was passionate about highlighting disabilities and inclusivity in the community.

"The day will be a fun one for everyone. We will have a barbecue for the players, we will have music roaring and even if it's my athletes playing against each other, we are going to have the best day and have fun. That's ultimately what it is about."

In conjunction with the Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly, who run the Wimmera Whippets program, McIntyre wants to get the word out and about and encourages anyone to join, not only the Thursday program, but also the July 28 tournament.

"Anyone can reach out to me or they can reach out to Horsham Basketball Association - whichever one suits them," McIntyre said.

"Just get in touch, come down and have some fun. There are all different types of levels and it's for anyone. You won't be disappointed. You will also make some great, lifelong friends."

To contact Rebecca, E-Mail: or


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