By Pam Kiriakidis
WHITTLESEA Junior Football Club’s Auskick centre is delivering a free ‘Footy 4 Fun’ event on March 24, designed for people with a disability aged seven to 12 years.
Delivered by the club with AFL Victoria and the City of Whittlesea, the program offers activities and modified games for families and participants to engage with each other through local sport.
Whittlesea Junior Football Club Auskick coordinator Tania Pyle said the program was a chance for children with disabilities to participate in community sport as the northern metropolitan area lacked inclusive sport programs.
“It was something we wanted to participate in and give the support of the junior football club to say ‘we’re here, we want to listen to what people want in the northern corridor’,” she said.
“I feel like it’s important for [children with disabilities] to feel part of a community and also be able to access sports activities, where it can bring them together with other local kids who participate in regular sport.”
Ms Pyle said the day was to introduce inclusivity and awareness to other members of the community and club.
“Acceptance, that’s a big thing for us – for other young people to be accepting of anybody,” she said.
“It allows the families and parents to be able to form relationships within their community, and allow us as a club, other participants and community members to have a better understanding of people with disabilities.”
With a long-term goal of fielding an all-abilities football team, Ms Pyle said the club’s event was a starting point.
“[The event] is more of an expression of interest day, and then depending on what interest we get and how many participants we have, we will look at running more days this year. We may run another three within the AusKick program,” she said.
“Our long-term goal is to have a program for young people with disabilities run on the same night as our regular Auskick program, which will allow for our regular Auskick families and kids to actively participate with young people with disability.”
Footy 4 Fun Inclusion will be at AF Walker Reserve, Whittlesea, from 5.30pm to 6.30pm on March 24.
For more information and to register, people can visit www.facebook.com/wjfceagles.