SWB Flemington and Springvale cheque-giving ceremonies

In the first round of grants Sports Without Borders will be granting over $16,000 to over 560 newly arrived and refugee youth from Melbourne metro area. The Flemington and Springvale cheque ceremonies took place this week, with individual and organizations receiving their funds to take participate in sport, formally from James Demetriou, SWB Chairman.

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 Demetriou highlighted in his speech that there is a great need for grants in the CALD communities. In Round 1 (Jan 2010 – July 2010) SWB received a total of $196, 000 grant applications but could only support $16, 000 in the first round.

 In the North and northwest region President of Flemington Eagles, Northern United coach John Sichounidis and players and Jessie Roberts (Youth Junction) were some of those present to accept the funds on behalf of the grant recipients who received monies for equipment, fees, gear, transport. Surfing, Soccer and Volleyball were just some of the varied sports provided for. The grant recipients themselves are in fact drawn from Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, Polynesia and Liberia to name a few.

Tony Fry (Scanlon Foundation), Councillor Shirley Cornish (Major, Moonee Valley City Council) and John Sipek (MVCC), Stuart Gillespie (MVCC) and Craig Skelton (MVCC) were the honorary guests helping to present the cheques. MVC and Sports Without Borders have worked together on a number of initiatives in Flemington and are in talks about hosting Youth Action days in Flemington and Ascot Vale.

Players form Northern United Soccer Club, Farrah, Jordan and Garang received grants for fees, soccer boots, jerseys and socks. The team is very multicultural with over 20 different nationalities. There is no hint of racism in this club and the players acknowledge that when they come together they work as a team and play for one team.  A game is also a social outing for many families.

For the guys in Northern United Soccer is way to express who they are and they see this in the players they idolize Messi, Ronaldo, Fabregas and Ronaldhino. Expressing soccer skills is an expressions of who they are and who they want to be. Some of the kids expressed interests in attending academies and were buoyed by news that Sports Without Borders does provide for scholarships for soccer academies.

In Springvale, Major of Dandenong, Jim Memeti presented the cheques to organizations on behalf of 170 kids in the south and south east regions of Melbourne.

The City of Dandenong has a diverse mix of residents and has the highest intake of migrants of any council within Victoria with 8, 000 new residents this year. This accounts for 10% of all new residents to Victoria.

The Dandenong grants were for tennis, soccer and Capoeira highlighting the assortment of sports that SWB can fund.

One of the more interesting sports stories to come out of Dandenong was Capoeira grant for 50 uniforms. Capoeira is a martial art formed by Brazilian slaves who disguised it as a dance with music and then used the martial art to escape from their masters.

Veronica Galvan from the Capoeira Arts Association says that their used to be fights but the kids worked through their differences and “started to share knowledge from Capeoira with other kids and used the sport/dances as a means for social interaction. The knowledge is passed into a social network and the kids are now more considerate and tolerant.” she said

The next funding round starts on 1st July and goes to 30th September, 2010. Round 3 begins 1st October.

Round 3 begins 1st October and ends 31st December, 2010.