How you could help give all kids chance to play sport
SPORT offers many benefits from mental and physical health, to social skills and inclusion, but with Australian families spending up to $11 billion each year on physical and recreational activities, it's a cost the average battler can sadly not afford, forcing many kids to miss out entirely.
Bundaberg's St Vincent de Paul Society are calling on volunteers to assist with a local program that aims to get kids on the field for free.
Youth engagement and development officer Michael Siccama said the non-for-profit organisation had been delivering the Soccer Stars program in various Brisbane suburbs for years and it had been hugely successful.
"Bundaberg Regional Council carried out a study in 2018, as part of their Sport and Recreation Strategy and 25% of people who were surveyed said sport participation in Bundaberg was too expensive to take their kids to and I thought that was such a huge number," Mr Siccama said.
"Soccer Stars is based on the idea of making participation sport outside of school available for everyone, by offering the sessions for free.
"Bundaberg has such a rich soccer history so we really want to touch on that heritage and we find that it is such an inclusive sport too."
Similar to Auskick, a nationwide program designed to teach basic skills of Aussie rules football to children, participants of Soccer Stars will learn the rules of play in an hour-long session each week after school.
The program which is set to run for the duration of eight weeks will then be offered to another school the following term.
"We're looking for volunteers to help out with the program and unfortunately without those volunteers, it won't be able to happen," Mr Siccama said.
"It's definitely about getting that 30 minutes of physical exercise a day, which is so important for growth, development and wellbeing, but the program is also designed to give kids a positive role model through the volunteers."
While the Lionel Messi's and Cristiano Ronaldo's are more than welcome to nominate themselves for the role, the youth engagement and development officer said no experience is necessary.
"We're just after people with the willingness, positive attitude and interest in working with kids in need," Mr Siccama said.
"They will need a blue card but they can organise that through us, so anyone that's aged 16 and older can contact me directly."
If the program is a success, St Vinnies will look at delving into other sports and offering additional program to Bundaberg in the future.
Organisers aim for the Soccer Stars program to commence in Bundy next year.
For more information or to become a volunteer, phone Michael Siccama on 0408 527 917 or email firstname.lastname@example.org