Young people from culturally diverse backgrounds in Melbourne will benefit from an innovative rugby league partnership thanks to a commitment of more than $130,000 from the Victorian Government.
Minister for Crime Prevention Ben Carroll today announced $130,000 in funding for the extension of the NRL’s In League In Harmony program in partnership with Melbourne Storm.
He was joined for the announcement at AAMI Park by Storm CEO Dave Donaghy, Storm NRL squad members Christian Welch and Albert Vete and the NRL’s Joe Galuvao.
The funding will help the program expand to include a crime prevention focus, with Storm leveraging its existing community networks to deliver after-school workshops and rugby league training sessions to 160 young people aged 14-18.
Participants will be drawn from the Hume area in Melbourne’s north-west and Casey in the city’s south-east.
The program promotes a sense of community through the celebration of diverse cultural identities, while also addressing social disengagement, racism, gender inequality, bullying and youth offending.
It will run for seven weeks across terms one and two of the school year, culminating in a series of celebratory gala days, where participants will be encouraged to reflect on their personal development.
Twenty youth advocates will be selected from the group and mentored to lead longer-term social impact projects. They will also be invited to train as referees, coaches and sports trainers to mentor future participants.
Storm and the NRL will lead the delivery of the workshops, with support from, the Centre for Multicultural Youth, local councils, schools and culturally diverse advisory groups.
“Our partnership with Melbourne Storm and the NRL will help young people connect with their communities and maximise their potential,” Minister Carroll said.
“This is a fantastic program that will help address the root causes of youth offending by utilising sport to engage and empower young people across Casey and Hume.”
Dave Donaghy said: “Melbourne Storm is proud to be partnering with the Victorian Government on this program, promoting the values of inclusiveness, courage and teamwork with younger Victorians through rugby league.”