AN AFL football program offering sporting opportunities to young refugees in the northern suburbs is at risk of closing, with resources at an all-time low.
The Mirrabooka-based Edmund Rice Centre WA’s AFL programs provide opportunities for children and youth from refugee backgrounds who are new to Australia to try AFL.
Special projects team leader Joe Moniodis said that with demand increasing for the programs and resources dwindling, it was time to start a campaign to keep it going.
“The programs provide ongoing support to children and their families to help them to have the same opportunities as other kids, and give them the confidence to grab those opportunities and make the most out of them,” Mr Moniodis said.
“They help to overcome the many barriers that these children face.
“Often they don’t have transport, or can’t afford club fees or can’t get the extra support they need to keep playing the sport they love.”
Mr Moniodis said while the programs did receive some government funding, a shortfall of $20,000 was still needed and as demand for the programs was growing, resources were not.
“We need the funding to meet the shortfall,” he said. “We do receive government funding and that is much appreciated but shortfall comes for a number of reasons.
“Often we budget to service a particular group, for example, children, but often find that another group, like youth, also want to participate and we need to find resources to accommodate them.”
Mr Moniodis said the programs filled vital gaps to enable the young people to succeed, as well as build bridges between mainstream Australians and those newly arrived.
“It melts the hearts of many people when they see these kids play footy for the first time, and they are inspired when they see how good they are,” he said.
To donate, visit https:// chuffed.org/project/edmund-rice-afl-programs.