Soccer: United Through Football program

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On Sunday, 5 June, I attended the launch of the United Through Football program at Cartledge Reserve, Ivanhoe, home of the Heidelberg Stars Soccer Club. It was a great launch of the program, which is run collaboratively by Football Federation Victoria, VicHealth and affiliated soccer clubs. It aims to increase the capacity of FFV, local clubs and community organisations to promote diversity and social connection through community sport. Heidelberg Stars is a successful club in my electorate that provides great opportunities for many young people from the Somali community of Heidelberg West to participate in community sport. I pass on my congratulations to Hassan and his committee on their leadership, and I also congratulate the volunteers who support the club.

The United Through Football program has so far supported over 3000 newly arrived participants to call this football club their new home in 2011. The program will help recently arrived immigrants from the Horn of Africa to connect with their new community. I acknowledge the leadership of FFV president, Nick Monteleone, who attended the event and spoke passionately about FFV advocacy for newly arrived communities to participate in community sport, particularly the world game.

I also point out that the Labor Party made a commitment at the last election of up to $500 000 to redevelop the Cartledge Reserve clubrooms in Ivanhoe with the support of the Banyule City Council. We reaffirm that commitment and will continue to fight to deliver that project for the Heidelberg Stars Soccer Club.