HELPING KIDS: The vice-president of AFL Northern Rivers Juniors, Ean Jones, and the president AFL Northern Rivers, Bob Lodge, have launched a scheme aimed at promoting the AFL game among disadvantaged children in the region.
HELPING KIDS: The vice-president of AFL Northern Rivers Juniors, Ean Jones, and the president AFL Northern Rivers, Bob Lodge, have launched a scheme aimed at promoting the AFL game among disadvantaged children in the region. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Footy hoping to kick goals with our kids

NORTHERN Rivers Junior AFL chiefs are aiming to use the power of their sport to transform the lives of under-privileged children in the region.

The AFL association will use money received through the NSW Government's Participation and Facility Grant Program to help attract such children to the sport.

It is hoped the project will not only encourage an interest in AFL among targeted juniors but help improve their general living standards, too.

Association vice-president Ean Jones said it was hoped the program would have important benefits.

"The goals are simple," he said. "We want to have increased participation of disadvantaged kids in AFL.

"In turn, we hope that will lead to better outcomes (for them).

"I am sure there are coaches from across the Northern Rivers who have had to deal with kids from the 'wrong side of the tracks' and got them going in the right direction. We think we will be able to do the same."

Full details of how the project will be implemented still are being discussed but the AFL association will work on encouraging indigenous and other children from deprived socio-economic backgrounds to play the sport.

Jones said it was hoped to use to use the growing popularity of AFL to help participants.

"AFL is a fast-growing sport in the region now," he said. "It is an inclusive game for boys and girls, wherever they are from.

"There are also some great role models in AFL for indigenous children and under-privileged children and we hope we can build on that."

Jones said the project also would build on the important community work being carried out by clubs.

"Sometimes indigenous kids will play sport in their communities but we do not see that transfer itself to club level," he said.

"There is some great work being done at club level and this will allow us to build on that.

"We were delighted to receive this money as this is something we have wanted to do for a long time."

The $7100 grant was provided as part of a $1.7 million package from the State government.

More than 140 sporting clubs have received money, which needs to be spent on improving their services or community-based projects.

Applications for the next round of funding now are being received with Tuesday, February 26, being the closing date.

For more details, visit dsr.nsw.gov.au/grants.



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