Jay Larkins: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Scoring goals for participation in sport
Brisbane Paralympic Football Program
Selfless. Passionate. Committed
Jay Larkins was determined to create an opportunity for this son, Jarrod, to play football, even though he has cerebral palsy.
He achieved his aim and has also brought the game to people with different abilities all over Brisbane.
Jay is the founder and head coach of the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program, which exists to ensure that anyone can play football.
“It is not a privilege for a community member of any ability to be involved.
It is their right,” says Jay, who has put many hours and his own money into the program since creating it in 2006.
Jarrod has gone on to represent Australia in Paralympic football, along with four others from the program. He now assists Jay and the team, supporting others to participate in the sport.
“It is great that he has reached the pinnacle in his chosen sport, but to me, it’s what he does to assist others that I find Inspiring,” says Jay.
“He works to help other participants with the same dream of being the best they can be, in whatever sport they choose.”
Jay is grateful to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero. “I am truly humbled to be chosen by my community,” he says.
Apart from giving participants the health benefits of sport, Jay endeavours to help them connect with their community, make friends and develop confidence.
“I can think of one young participant who arrived five years ago, with her mother telling us she would always use a wheelchair.”
“Today she uses crutches and a walker and can even walk six steps unaided. I have no doubt she will one day represent Australia in Paralympic sport.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
Thanks to the grant, Brisbane Paralympic Football Program is buying uniforms for all players and volunteers and expanding the program around Queensland.
“You can only truly understand what the program means for participants by seeing them in action,” says Jay.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.