Programs We Support
Programs We Support
Disabled Surfing Australia
The Disabled Surfing Association of Australia is a uniquely Australian organisation with global ambitions – setting the world’s best practice for the sport of disabled surfing. To learn more, visit the Disabled Surfing Australia website.
Initially set up for injured surfers, the popularity of DSA saw it quickly expand its target group to now cater for anyone with a disability wanting to participate in surfing.
The DSAA creates opportunities for everyone, including disabled participants and able-bodied volunteers, to experience unique, safe and happy surfing events under the supervision of trained team leaders and beach marshalls.
DSAA is a totally voluntary, registered Public Benevolent Institution and surfing’s only registered charity dedicated for the disabled – giving it a unique place among Australia’s charitable programs.
The volunteers’ passion for their sport, and the ability to make a difference to the lives of others, is the driving force behind the DSAA’s work – backed by the support of our members, local communities and some minor government funding.
The success of the DSAA’s training program has seen it expand to 16 branches across Australia and New Zealand.
The NSW Department of Sport and Recreation recognised the work of DSAA with the Minister’s award for Most Significant Contribution to Water Safety by an Organisation and the award for Outstanding Achievement in Implementing Safe Sport Practices.
In 2019, the Titans Community Foundation was part of a magic moment four decades in the making with former Australian surfer Wayne McKewen and the creation of a specialised “Life-Craft” surfboard for DSAA.
One of Australia’s leading surfboard shapers, McKewen was fully committed to this project after suffering from a debilitating illness as a teenager. Working together with the Titans Community team and DSAA, McKewen designed and created the specialist board to ensure everyone can experience the joy and thrill of catching a wave.
Using money raised during the “Titans Community Kick-In” – a fundraising project for worthy charities and causes in the Gold Coast region – the Titans partnered with McKewen to purchase and donate the specialised Life-Craft board for DSAA.
This helped to raise public awareness of the work done by the DSAA, and further strengthen the long-term relationship between the organisation and the Gold Coast Titans.
Down Syndrome Queensland
Down Syndrome Queensland is a registered charity established by parents in 1976. Staffed by a small, dynamic team of full-time and part-time staff, Down Syndrome Queensland provides a range of services and support for families throughout Queensland. To learn more, visit the Down Syndrome Queensland website.
The team is supported by a number of wonderful volunteers, including a board consisting entirely of volunteer parents. The services provided by DSQ are funded through grants, sponsorships, donations, membership fees and fundraising.
Since 2014, the Gold Coast Titans have hosted a very special group of Queenslanders on match day at Cbus Super Stadium, with children from the Down Syndrome Association of Queensland taking centre stage.
On a set game every year, the children are partnered with players from the Titans and the opposition team, and made to feel extra special as they run onto the field with the NRL players before kick-off.
In 2019, the Melbourne Storm and their captain Cameron Smith embraced the work done by the Titans and DSQ by sharing this special day and making it unforgettable for all involved.
DSQ Member Cally Ward said: “DSQ really values the relationship with the Titans. The kids get a really fantastic opportunity to do a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“They can go back to school and they can do show and tell, and they really feel the passion of the crowd. They love the excitement and the atmosphere of the game, and for the families, they get to really celebrate their child and see their child do something that – in the normal scheme of things – they would never do.
“So we are extremely grateful to the Gold Coast Titans for creating this opportunity for children with Down Syndrome.”
Touch Football Specialised
Touch Football Specialised began in 2013 on the Gold Coast, giving it a special place in the heart of the Gold Coast Titans. To learn more, visit the Touch Football Specialised website.
TFS has modified the rules of one of Australia’s most popular participation sports – touch football – to make it easier for people with intellectual impairments to be a part of the sport and a team of their own.
TFS works on an inclusive framework and sees a variety of intellectual impairments (such as Down Syndrome and autism) play on the same field.
Graeme Clancy was a touch football enthusiast working at the Mudgeeraba Special School when he realised youngsters with special needs had no way of actively engaging in rugby league – and Touch Football Specialised was born.
Candice Green is a 13-year-old Gold Coast girl who, due to a chromosome deficiency, was given very little chance to live – even before she was born.
But for the past seven years, Candice has played a modified game of touch football with her friends that, for a few precious minutes, allows her to feel “normal”.
In 2019, TFS released the “All Abilities Series” which allows individuals with intellectual impairments to participate on the same field as everyone else – bring teammates, family and friends onto the footy field with them to share in their passion.
The Titans have had a long association with TFS, with Gold Coast NRL backrower Bryce Cartwright one of the regular attendees at the Pizzey Park sessions in his role as a TFS Ambassador.
TFS is another part of the Titans’ work with inclusion in rugby league, ensuring everyone that carries a love of the game in their heart has the opportunity to participate, and have fun playing footy.
Cartwright is a passionate advocate of TFS, and said being able to help bring some smiles to the faces of some special footy fanatics was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.
"It’s great to come down here and play some footy with the guys. You can see how much it means to them, and how much they get out of it, which for me, makes taking a few hours out of my week a no-brainer."Bryce Cartwright