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Kids in Sport: The game-changing program making sport more accessible

The Kids in Sport launch at the Seagulls Rugby League grounds

There are countless reasons for kids to play sport.

It’s not only a great way of staying active; sport has been proven to have developmental, social and emotional benefits.

But for many families, it’s not as easy as signing up to the local cricket, football or netball club. With registration fees and equipment costs quickly adding up, it can all be too much for some families – especially those with several children.

Feros Care has stepped up through our new ‘Kids in Sport’ program to support families financially so that more kids can get out there and get involved with their local communities.

Launching in Bowen and Collinsville, and run by Mackay Local Area Coordinator (LAC) Carrie Elliott, here is everything you need to know about the program changing the game in the local sporting community.

How it works

Families in need already have access to the Queensland FairPlay vouchers, a government initiative that offers a voucher up to $150 per child, per year, for sporting registration fees.

However, that $150 only goes so far – and so Feros Care has teamed up with the Bowen Neighbourhood Centre to offer additional financial assistance to families using the FairPlay vouchers.

The local football teams, the Townsville Blackhawks and the Mackay Cutters, each put in $1000 and additional sponsorship money from Feros Care has also been provided. That money can now go towards additional fees, uniforms and whatever equipment families might need for their kids, such as mouth guards and shin guards.

“The community is feeling a big financial burden, with the cost of general daily living rising,” Carrie says. “Couple that with the decrease in sport due to COVID, and there’s been a huge strain on mental health in Bowen and Collinsville.”

“This means that families doing it tough can now get their kids into sports without baulking at the costs. No one has to miss out!”

A big component of the initiative is also for Feros Care to work with more sporting clubs, encouraging them to be ‘Welcoming Clubs’ to everyone – regardless of their ability. Even if someone doesn’t want to play a sport, or is unable to, they can still get involved in the cheer squad or support with team help and involvement.

The boot swap

Carrie has also introduced a wonderful initiative to benefit all families in the community, the boot and equipment swap.

“Kids grow out of things so quickly, so we’re encouraging families to bring in old equipment – body armour, cricket pads, headgear, whatever it is – as well as their old boots.”

Having teamed up with the local Bowen Seagulls Junior Rugby League team, the boot and equipment swap will be on the fields during home games so kids can look to swap out their gear rather than trying to buy everything new.

While not at the games, the gear will remain at the Bowen Neighbourhood Centre so that families can pop in and look to get what they need on a case-by-case basis.

“A lot of families can’t afford the next set of boots and kids don’t want to ask mum and dad, so this really helps,” Carrie says. “We’re teaming up with local schools in the area, getting their support, and so many families are donating equipment. It’s great to see everyone so involved.”

The launch

The program launched on March 12 at the Seagulls Rugby League grounds at the Blackhawks vs Cutters game. Many members of the community attended to enjoy the game and find out more about the Feros Care Kids in Sport offering.

“Everyone was very happy to see that whatever sport their kids want to get involved with – cricket, tennis, netball, whatever – we will help,” Carrie explains.

There was a half-time kicking competition with Andrew Willcox, Mayor of the Whitsunday Regional Council; and even footy commentator and local Councillor Mike Brunker coming along to join in on the action.

“It was wonderful to see the community and the perfect example of what sport does in bringing people together,” Carrie says. “I wanted my own kids involved in sport for the friendships they build and the values they learn from getting involved.”

“It’s great to see how Feros Care works with kids of all abilities, helping them become involved and play sports,” Mayor Andrew Willcox adds.

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