Football West will work with Perth, Pilbara and Kimberley communities to greatly expand its Aboriginal Community Soccer Program with a three-year, $750,000 funding commitment by the Federal Government.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all age groups in Swan, Baldivis, Broome, Kununurra, Wyndham, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Roebourne and Karratha will benefit from the program.
Two full-time Aboriginal Development Officers will be employed to deliver the program, assisted by existing metropolitan and regional development officers.
Federal Indigenous Minister and Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt announced the program at Swan Italian Sporting Club this morning.
“This is an exciting development with major potential because promoting a positive and active lifestyle is a key to better health and wellbeing,” Minister Wyatt said.
“While playing soccer is lots of fun, the program is community based and will also focus on healthy choices including reducing alcohol, tobacco and drug use and improving mental health.
Swan Italian Club President Cosimo Coniglio, Swan Utd President Anthony Dundo, Football West CEO James Curtis, Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt MP, Swan Italian Club Treasurer Vince Forgione and Football West Head of Development Jamie Harnwell at today’s announcement
“Football West will work with each of the communities to design culturally appropriate football activities.”
Football West CEO James Curtis said: “Football West is proud to be supporting the local Aboriginal community groups to deliver soccer programs, including street soccer and futsal. The 40 small-sided soccer programs across 10 locations will be delivered to the whole community, including children, adults and elders.
“We are excited to be working with the local community to co-design and deliver programs that will ensure every member of the community can get involved.
“Our aim is that all community members across Western Australia have access to programs that deliver positive health and community outcomes, and this program is another big step forward in achieving the outcome.”
The program will deliver a number of health benefits for the communities, including:
Improved social and community engagement
Increased opportunities for physical activity
Improved mental health, social health and cultural security
Lower rates of alcohol and drug use
Lower smoking rates
Healthy lifestyle promotion activities
Some of the young footballers enjoy a well-earned break
Minister Wyatt added: “It is encouraging to see a whole-of-community approach that targets entire families and seeks to grow partnerships with local health organisations and other community groups.
“I have confidence in Football West’s plans because I have seen the impact of community based soccer in the Northern Territory, where the John Moriarty Football program has achieved significant success.
“While we may see some young soccer champions emerge from the Football West program, I believe local communities will be winners, regardless.”
The Football West Aboriginal soccer program is being funded from the Indigen
ous Australians’ Health Program.
The small-sided soccer programs will begin in 2020, with pilot programs to begin this year.
Football West would like to acknowledge the Federal Government’s support for the Aboriginal Community Soccer Program.