Council plan to help struggling families access sport

Junior sports could become more affordable for struggling local families after Redland City Council today voted to investigate a financial assistance program for children’s sports.

Division 9 Councillor Paul Gleeson, who is Council’s sport and recreation spokesperson and put forward the motion, said it followed a successful trial in his Capalaba division that saw local businesses and schools fundraise $4000 to provide grants to help keen eight to 12-year-olds play sport.

“The Capalaba pilot program was a big success, with 40 local kids benefitting from funds to cover out-of-pocket sporting expenses,” Cr Gleeson said.

“It proved that the extra support can make a real difference – one of the really good news stories was Capalaba Swimming Club, who had 15 children sign on through the pilot, 12 of whom had never swum before.

“The reality is that the costs of gear and fees can be hard to cover for struggling families and we’d like to see sports become affordable for all local children who want to access them.

“Today’s decision means we will now investigate extending the program as part of a grants workshop being held in September.

“We will now look into a program where Council could provide up to $50,000 funding each year and work with sporting organisations, schools and local business sponsors to set up an ongoing fund.

“To ensure the money goes where it’s needed most, eligibility would be restricted to children or parents and guardians of children who hold a Centrelink Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card.

“The idea is that youngsters could apply for $100 grants through their preferred sporting club. It will be a top up to State Government assistance of $150 through its Get in the Game program that opens up many more options for families.”

“This is about being an inclusive community where any child can join a club, feel part of a team, be healthy and enjoy all the fun that comes with sport.”

Following a grants workshop a Council report will come back to Council for a decision to then be made on funding the program.