Transcript of the video:

Hi, I’m Christie Dawes and welcome to the latest edition of my Cocoon vlog. We’re very excited to have along today Matt Hansson. Matt is the Community Engagement Officer at Cocoon. Welcome, Matt. Thanks for your time.

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Pleasure. Listen, why this industry, what brought you here?

Yeah, so. I’m a… I lost my leg back in 2017 after a motorbike accident three years beforehand. Um, but I’ve also got a godson with terrible palsy. And a few other things. And then I’ve got a very close family member with Down syndrome, so definitely it’s a very hard industry for me.

Yeah. And there are lots of NDIS providers and your lived experience would be valued at any one of them. Why did you choose Cocoon to jump on board with?

Yeah, so I guess being a national company, we’ve got some great foundations that are already set. And I think it’s about working with an organisation that wants to take things to the next level. So you know, we’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline at the moment that I’m sure will be released to the public soon. Um, but it’s about working with a company that I guess wants to take it to that next step. And we’re now doing that through our collaborations with others.

Yeah, you talk about the importance of collaboration, especially when it comes to NDIS providers working together. Why is collaboration from different organisations so important?

Because, at the end of the day, it’s about the participant. We’re all here for one thing. It’s not ourselves. It shouldn’t be the business to an extent. We’re here for our participants, We’re here to help them live their day to their best capacity and to their extent that they can. So for me it’s all about the participant. And it’s all about making sure that we do whatever’s right and whether that’s working collaboratively with someone else, then at the end of the day, that’s what we should all be doing.

Yeah, absolutely. And whether pooling resources, pooling ideas just means better outcomes for participants. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. So yeah, really important point you bring to the table. So I appreciate that changing tack now. I’m sporty. You’re sporty. I’m leaving next week to travel to Berlin for the Berlin Marathon. You’re off to Sydney later this month to participate in the Pickleball Championships. Tell us about Pickleball. It’s a phenomenon that’s sweeping the world, and you’re into it. Tell us about it.

Yeah. So I guess I don’t get to go to Berlin, but Sydney’s just as good. Yeah. So pickleball is the fastest growing sport probably in the country or the world. So originally it started over in America. And it’s hit Australia by storm. So I guess for those that have never heard the sport, it’s a hybrid between tennis, squash and badminton, right? So it’s similar to tennis, but with a few different rules. It’s a big sport that we’re looking at inclusion. And for me, I’m very lucky that I’m going to be competing in three para-competitions and then two mainstreams. So, I’m really looking forward to it.

What do you think your chances are of success? Podium finish?

Well look, I’m still fairly beginner at the sport, so I come from a different sport background that doesn’t do as much in a physical disability inclusion space. Um, look, at the end of the day I’m going for the fact that it’s an opportunity to expose the sport. I think it’s really important that while we’re still developing the para. Sort of aspect, It’s not really about the results. Don’t get me wrong, get me on the court in three weeks time and I don’t care who’s in front of me, I will try to win. So I am hoping that I might come away with with a couple of medals, 5 events. I’ll be happy if I can win one or two.

Yeah, participation is good. But I think also to getting the word out there about any sport that can be played as a hybrid with able bodied, with able bodied friends or family is always great because it’s often difficult to combine able body sports with para sports or disability sports. So I think I might have to give pickleball a game myself. I mean that sounds great. Well, you know, I reckon there’d be somewhere in your local that would be playing. So absolutely and I think. That’s a really important message. Is It doesn’t matter who you are. You could be in a wheelchair, you could be an amputee. You may have an intellectual disability. You may be a veteran. This is actually a sport that inclusion is massive.

Right. Well, good luck at the Pickleball Championships. We will let our viewers know in the next blog how you got on and I’ll let everybody know how I got on in Berlin. And listen, this is our first vlog. I usually do a monthly blog, which is a print media form and this is our monthly blog. So let us know how you think we’re going. Did you like this format? Is there anything that you want us to talk about? Would you like to be a guest on my blog? I would be very happy to have you along. So let us know how you think this is going. And we will catch you next month for the October blog. Thanks for joining us, Matt.

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Take care of yourselves & each other
Christie Dawes