The complete shutdown of the sport & recreation sector due to COVID-19 presents an opportunity for codes and clubs to reimagine a sporting community that is inclusive of all Australians regardless of their background, knowledge, skills and abilities.
Welcoming Australia, through the Welcoming Sport initiative, has launched a public draft of the Welcoming Clubs Standard to provide a framework and support for sport and recreation clubs to progress their diversity and inclusion practices and create a culture of welcome for all members of the community.
The Welcoming Clubs Standard is now open for consultation.
Sport and recreations clubs have traditionally held a unique position as a gathering and facilitation point for physical and community activity.
However, while sport and recreation are a defining characteristic of the Australian identity, clubs have faced an unprecedented challenge and they require resources to continue to be places where community connection can thrive and grow.
Maia Tua-Davidson, former New Zealand Kiwi Fern and Rugby League Player of the Year, has led the development of the Welcoming Clubs Standard for Welcoming Australia.
“To be successful modern clubs have to be adaptable, responsive to community needs and proactive in engaging with new membership groups and participants,” said Tua-Davidson.
“It’s time for a new model.”
Welcoming Clubs Advisory Committee member and Director of Football at Adelaide United FC, Bruce Djite, noted that ‘sporting organisations should be judged on the actions they take not just the words that they speak.’
“Society will not get better if we keep leaving people behind,” said Mr Djite calling for more diversity in sports leadership.
“Change may come, but it will come much slower, if we don’t entrench people with lived experience in the hierarchies of sports administration.”
The Welcoming Clubs Standard aims to:
- Provide sport and recreation clubs with the know-how, framework and resources to cultivate a culture of welcome and embrace diversity and inclusion practices;
- Benchmark policies and practices against clearly defined standards that encourage and support ongoing learning, development and success; and,
- Enable people from all backgrounds – including recently arrived migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum – to access the support that is often required to participate in sport and recreation opportunities and broader community life.
Welcoming Australia CEO, Aleem Ali, is keen to ensure that a wide range and number of sporting codes and clubs are consulted.
“The purpose of the public draft is to receive feedback from as many sporting codes and clubs as possible to ensure that the Standard is relevant and makes a positive and practical difference,” Ali said.
“Our aim is to use the power of sport to bring people together.”
The Welcoming Clubs Standard (Public Draft) and feedback process can be accessed at www.welcoming.org.au/clubs.
The development of the Welcoming Clubs Standard has been funded by the Department of Home Affairs (through the Fostering Integration grants program) and the Queensland Government.
For further comment or information contact:
Manager, Welcoming Sport