Refugee kids kicking goals thanks to increased grants and sponsorships program
Refugee children will be supported to play sport and feel welcome throughout the community after receiving a share of City of Newcastle (CN)'s almost $1 million grants and sponsorships funding.
CN's funding, which includes community support, infrastructure grants, economic development and events sponsorship and partnerships, has increased tenfold since 2014 in response to growing needs in the community and the success of sponsorships driving city activity.
Initiatives ranging from a learn to swim program for refugee women, an Indigenous and disability sports clinic, through to workshops teaching Auslan to the community using popular songs are just some of the programs to be delivered under CN's community support grant funding.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said community grants and sponsorship funding is vital to enhancing community wellbeing and contributing to our city being a great place to live, work, play, visit and invest.
“Whether its funding for a program to help refugees engage with the community or an event to bring thousands of people to the city centre, City of Newcastle's grants and sponsorships program is helping build a more liveable and inclusive community," Cr Nelmes said.
“We have significantly boosted grant and sponsorship funding to support the needs of our ever-changing community from almost $130,000 in 2014 to almost $1 million in 2022, representing a tenfold increase.
“Our funding program is targeted to help provide opportunities for locals to reach their full potential, take an active part in our community and live in a more vibrant city."
Ward 4 Councillor Dr Elizabeth Adamczyk, who joined Northern NSW Football, the Treasurer of the Afghan Association of the Hunter and refugee families to help launch the refugee football initiative, said social inclusion, recreation participation and economic development were at the heart of CN's grants and sponsorships program.
"Through the City's financial assistance, we are seeing a wide range of wonderfully inclusive and progressive initiatives aimed at supporting our culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities right across Newcastle, with a strong focus on our western suburbs," Cr Adamczyk said.
"I'm also thrilled to see such a wide-breadth of local sporting facilities receive funding to support facility upgrades while local businesses at Shortland and Stockton are set for a refresh to their shopfronts through the Façade Improvement Scheme initiative."
Among the community support grant initiatives to have been allocated funding in this round are a multicultural inclusion program delivered by Northern NSW Football for local refugee students and a sports program run by the Afghan Association of the Hunter for newly arrived Afghan refugees.
“Newcastle has a large number of newly arrived refugee youth and football is a universal language that unites people,” Northern NSW Football Legacy Development Officer Joseph Wright said.
“Thanks to this grant funding, Northern NSW Football will be able to provide player, coach and referee scholarships to children from refugee backgrounds to help them continue their football journey and integrate into the community.”
Forugh Dorani from the Afghan Association of Hunter Incorporated said their sports program and the football program delivered by Northern NSW Football will help Afghan refugees feel welcome and supported across Newcastle.
"Sports programs provide a wonderful opportunity for Afghan refugees that have newly arrived in Newcastle to connect with others in the community through a game that they love,” Mr Dorani said.