A grassroots charity is breaking barriers to sports participation and disrupting cycles of disadvantage.

Grant Type
Community
Focus
Social Cohesion
Date
2024
Partner

TeamSports4All is a grassroots charity that began when a couple of dads in Bayside noticed children watching their sons play AFL. They spoke to the children, and when the dads confirmed that the families couldn’t afford the fees, they offered to cover the cost. The children jumped at the opportunity. Soon after, the parents began fundraising with the help of others.

In 2015, TeamSports4All (TS4A) became a registered charity, founded on the belief that no child should miss out on playing sports. TS4A now operates Melbourne in regions including Bayside, Stonnington, Port Phillip, Maroondah, Glen Eira, Kingston, Frankston and most recently, Wyndham in the western suburbs. The organisation currently supports over 440 children, and this number is growing fast.

The Bennelong Foundation provided funding for 60 children in high-need regions to participate in sports beginning November 2023. This grant has significantly accelerated the growth of the charity.

The majority of families supported by this grant TS4A are from culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Often the parents are unemployed and isolated from broader communities, so the inclusion of their child in a sports team can be significant.

“When families are in a cycle of disadvantage, it’s hard to break, but this charity has the potential to break that cycle,” says Simon Davie, CEO of TS4A.

The beauty of the TS4A approach is, the children who benefit are integrated into the broader team, so no one knows they are receiving extra help. When they put on the uniform, they look like the other kids. There’s no question or judgement about their situation.

One core aspect of the TS4A model is a long-term commitment to supporting the children for as many years as they want to play team sport. A network of motivated volunteers ensures each family gets a monthly check-in to iron out any problems that come up. The ongoing connection with a team, raises their level of confidence and gives them a sense of pride. We've seen some kids going to school more, engaging more - all these things are coming as a byproduct of the sport."

In addition to the benefits of being active, participants learn positive social behaviours – teamwork, respect for coaches and officials, self-discipline, and the rewards of hard work. Playing club sport connects the whole family with their community - decreasing their social isolation.

The rising cost of living in Australia is causing more families to cut back on sport participation, increasing the demand for initiatives like TS4A. There’s a growing need in the west as well as in the south of Melbourne. Thanks to its relationship with sporting clubs, TS4A is able to secure discounts on registrations and uniforms that bring the costs down from an average of $1200 to around $500 per annum.

The organisation is working with Auskick to co-fund a scheme that invites children from families with low socio-economic status to try out sports.

Some children participating in sports thanks to TS4A have become exceptional - even participating at national level. One of them, Dardan, recently competed at the Australian Karate Championships in Sydney where he won a gold medal. His passion and dedication to karate paid off.

Another child, a girl who was previously bullied at school, is also heading to the Karate World Championships in Sydney in August. Since learning the martial art, she has felt more confident to stand up for herself and others.

Simon reflects, “She stood up to those who bullied her - in a perfectly nice way - and now she's standing up for friends who are also being bullied. Karate has literally changed her life and possibly even broken the cycle of disadvantage in her family.”

Impactful results

The Benefit

TeamSports4All has enabled young Melburnians to participate in grassroots, structured sport within their communities.

Outcome

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

Outcome

Greater willingness among Melbourne communities to cooperate with each other in order to prosper.

When families are in a cycle of disadvantage, it’s hard to break, but this charity has the potential to break that cycle.

Simon Davie

CEO, TeamSports4All

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