Sunshine Heights Cricket Club won two awards at the inaugural 2010 Brimbank Sporting Awards - Inclusive Club of the Year and Coach of the Year. The club has grown in the past few years from 50 to 200 people thanks to its policies of welcoming newly-arrived and migrant and has grown to such an extent that it is on the brink of gaining a 10-year lease at Brimbank Gardens for two grounds.
They have built on relationships with organisations like Sports Without Borders and other business sponsors and are on the brink of a successful era, not just in terms of premierships (they won two this year) but of creating a positive environment for kids and adults to learn new cricket skills and life skills.
Inclusive club of the year – accepted by Sunshine Heights CC club president Chris Hatzoglou
Sunshine Heights is known as a leading cricket club that actively welcomes all nations including newly arrived migrants. Recognised for doing community clinics and playing the Ntini team a U/13 Mother of God Primary school combined race side.
Coach of the year – Mattthew Shawcross
Recognised for coaching juniors, a senior playing coaching for 15 years and coaching the first Sudanese boy to play senior cricket in Victoria. He has helped Sudanese and newly-arrived to become involved in cricket.
"If Sunshine Heights can become a real hangout for the older boys and for the new wave we are achieving success before we even look at cricketing ability."
Matthew Shawcross - Background
A teacher at the Mother of God school. A deputy principal who encourages those who haven’t previously had an opportunity to get involved in sports, to play cricket and other sports.
U/13 Ntini teams
“We put out the feelers to see whether they would get involved and there were lots of positive responses. We had enough boys to form an entire team. The majority are Sudanese with 4 from Vietnam and one from Uganda, and a Phillipino.”
“It’s been a great mix and a fantastic season and the boys have had a ball. They are participating and developing new skills and as a result there has been great development in self-esteem and self-confidence. It has been a great overflow into their schooling, particularly their reading because they want to read more about cricket. In turn it helps their English, so the flow on effects are high - its been a great success.”
A feeling of achievement
"It’s a great honour. It’s really special for me to have Ring and Akon here tonight, because I’ve been involved with them since they came to the country.”
“It gets pretty, tiring but they give you energy when you look at the success they are making out of their lives from where they’ve come from. I attribute the award to all of the boys as I do to me because they are great kids and they keep you going.”
“The key is making sure it’s sustainable. We are very true to the facts that its not a one off but an ongoing thing. And as a result they feel comfortable and very much a part of the club, It’s very important to out new members, particularly newly-arrived perhaps. Due to things in their past they may have a problem with trust. Its really about trying to build up that level of trust to make sure that its not just a one off - that Sunshine Heights is a home in the community.
We have many great mentors in the club and role models for the boys to see ways in which we achieve in life.
Chris Hatzoglou - Club President
“It’s very satisfying and it motivates you to continue doing what you’re doing and to keep the good people, keep them involved and to introduce new people.
"The one thing I constantly look at is where we can improve, what are some areas that we can explore.”
“This has been breakthrough year for our club we’ve grown we’ve improved we’ve had some success and some exceptional recognition, the Brimbank Sports awards, we’ve had great support through organisations like SWB, we’ve got a number of Sponsors; ADAPT Australia, Vic Health and the Commonwealth Government. All of that helps us do what were doing so we can provide the best club environment for young people and those my age.”
"I’m passionate about creating a good environment that provides opportunities to learn from each other."
One area I’m particularly interested in is to establish a women’s cricket team, in the whole of Brimbank, which is the second largest municipality in Victoria there is not one girls cricket team, which is amazing. It’s a good opportunity its hard work and there are probably a number of opportunities and challenges to get that off the ground.”
Providing more opportunities
"Our intake has been huge, especially newly-arrived. I know being a son of a migrant how crucial and important those first few years are, so I don’t need any convincing how important that is."
“We want the club to be known as the club of choice for the Indians that are settling in Australia, for the Sudanese for the Afghani’s and the Chinese. If they want to play cricket or not we would like to persuade them to play cricket because we think it is a wonderful game and there are a lot of good things we can learn, thanks to great coaches like Matthew Shawcross.”
“After seeing lots of people in the club and having the year we’ve had, the success the growth and the recognition, all of that helps us to stay motivated to do the work, we are on the brink of a really good era.”