Hero Stories

Aussie Rules encouraging newly arrived communities in NSW

The Parramatta Lions Junior Australian Football Club, AFL NSW/ACT and Sports Without Borders have established a transitional project for newly arrived families. The project invites young people from diverse communities to play Australian Rules football and provides fee support for uniforms and registration. AFL NSW/ACT and Parramatta Lions then provide all families within the club a supportive environment to develop their knowledge and enjoyment of the sport. 

The club-based “Lion’s Cub Program” provides: 

  • Six weeks of free introductory participation run by the Parramatta Lions
  • Pathways to AFL NSW/ACT community after school programs
  • A supportive entry point for all new players, regardless of age, gender or cultural background, who wish to join the Parramatta Lions
  • Increased capacity of the club to expand the cultural inclusivity by capitalising on the cultural knowledge and linguistic skills of current parents to welcome new parents from CALD backgrounds
  • Parents to the opportunity to participate as volunteers, which will broaden the diversity of the Parramatta Lions volunteer group. For example, a parent of an Indian background was engaged to assist in facilitating parental participation and involvement in the club 

The Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL (women and men) teams have generated a lot of interest in the Parramatta area, attracting young people to try the sport for the first time. 
AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural Programs Manager, Nickie Flambouras works with Australian Rules football clubs all around the state to encourage diversity. 

“The AFL is committed to the engagement of all communities in our sport as players, fans and administrators,” says Flambouras.

“Our focus is to develop initiatives and programs, which build opportunities for new and emerging communities to become involved in our game.”

The Parramatta Lions experience has seen approximately 30 young people participate in Australian Rules football who are now ready to be involved in other community programs. Parents of the young people have also benefited from the increased knowledge of a local sports club and made connections other families in their local community. 

Special thanks to Bennelong Foundation for their support Sports Without Borders programs and encouraging social inclusion of new and emerging communities through sport.