City in the Community

City in the Community is using star power to promote social inclusion for young Afghan people in Melbourne.

Grant Type
Community
Focus
Social Cohesion
Date
2023
Partner

City in the Community may be a not-for-profit, but as the charitable arm of the Melbourne City Football Club, itself part of the City Football Club UK, it has star power.

Sunil Menon, Head of Community at Melbourne City FC, says the organisation’s links with Australia’s A-league and the UK Premier League helps attract many young people to City in the Community (CITC) programs.

“Our vision is to empower better lives for these young people through football,” he says.

“We get young people through the door with the lure of the game, but we are working at a much deeper level to uplift their physical and mental health.

“This is important because as cost-of-living pressures mount in our communities, there is less money available for young people to become involved in sport. Barriers to organised sport can involve several things such as cost, time, and transport. Increasingly, social isolation of young people is adding to this problem.”

CITC’s Young Leaders project, supported by the Bennelong Foundation, takes 16–24-year-olds through a program of training around football, community and leadership in the context of a professional football club.

After graduating from the program, these Young Leaders become part of the club’s workforce, volunteering at community programs and matchday events. In the last three years, 22 young leaders have transitioned into paid employment with Melbourne City or within the sport industry.

In 2024, Young Leaders will also support the planning, delivery and execution of the Melbourne Afghan Soccer Association’s major tournament. More than 40 Afghan teams from Australia and New Zealand will take part in the event, which will be held at Melbourne City FC’s home ground of Casey Fields, in Melbourne southeast. This is an area with a large population of new Australians.

“The support of Melbourne City and City in The Community makes a major difference to our community,” says Raz Baqiri, President, Melbourne Afghan Soccer Association.

“To have the club based within our local neighbourhood is inspiring to young people, who can see the club is trying to connect withthem both on and off the field.”

Sunil added: “The Afghan community plays such an important role in the southeast of Melbourne. Their passion for football is infectious, and we think there is a role for us to play here in inspiring the next generation both on and off field.”

Read more about CITC here.

Impactful results

Making positive change

City in the Community has enabled young Afghan Australians to participate in grassroots, structured sport within their community.

Outcome

Easier for young people to be part of community-level sports that foster inclusion and connections, both social and cultural.

Outcome

Better access to the training and skills young people need to find a job, earn an income and become self-supporting.

The Afghan community plays such an important role in the southeast of Melbourne. Their passion for football is infectious and we think there is a role for us to play here in inspiring the next generation both on and off field.

Sunil Menon

Head of Community, Melbourne City FC

Image Gallery

Explore more stories of impact

Read how our partners are creating opportunities for people to shape their own futures.