Thousands of young people in South Western Sydney will benefit from the expansion of successful youth, schools and community programs, with a $208,000 commitment, over a three year period, by the Morrison Government to the independent Souths Cares charity, established by the South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby League Club.
“When inspiring sporting clubs and legendary players come together with communities, it helps kick major goals in health awareness and encourages real and sustained change,” said Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM.
“The South Sydney Rabbitohs have a long and proud history of supporting the community through delivering programs addressing education, employment and health.”
The funding will be used to employ a community engagement specialist to deliver health and wellbeing promotion activities in the areas of Campbelltown and Camden.
“This support means more than 2,500 primary school students will participate in the Rabbitohs wellbeing program each year,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Souths Cares will also promote and deliver healthy and active lifestyle programs to junior Rugby League clubs in the South West Sydney region.”
Souths Cares is offering additional services in the Campbelltown and Camden areas because statistics show these communities have large numbers of young people, high unemployment and a high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. There is also evidence of high childhood obesity and significant levels of psychological trauma.
“The delivery of health promotion activities for young people at the grassroots level of these communities will improve health and wellbeing outcomes, now and into the future,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Through Souths Cares and additional engagement, local young people will better understand the importance of exercise, eating well and contributing to a strong and caring community.”
Souths Cares and the Rabbitohs will match the Morrison Government’s contribution dollar-for-dollar, by providing extra staff, resources, player appearances and media promotion to support the community engagement and health promotion activities.
“We are thrilled to be able to announce this funding today and cannot wait to start increasing our service provision for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in South Western Sydney,” Souths Cares General Manager, Alisha Parker-Elrez said.
“We are extremely happy to announce Rabbitohs legend, Nathan Merritt, will be appointed to the new role and will be the face of our program delivery with the support of the Souths Cares team.
“We have seen first-hand the impact which Rabbitohs players have when delivering key messages around health promotion and we have identified Nathan as the perfect fit due to his proven track record whilst delivering programs with Souths Cares.”
Successful Souths Cares initiatives include the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big in Gadigal language) education and employment program, the Rabbitohs KARI Wellbeing Program, New Careers for Aboriginal People, oral health and a Joint Support Program to reduce recidivism among young offenders.
The new funding for Souths Cares comes through the Indigenous Australians Health Programme which supports the delivery of high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate essential health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Morrison Government has a strong track record of investment in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with a $3.9 billion commitment over the next four years.
For information on Souths Cares, see https://www.rabbitohs.com.au/community/