Swans Continue to Reinforce the Importance of Inclusion

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 - 10:54 AM

Swan Districts Football club created and delivered The Swans Inclusion Program helping empower people with disability in the Swans community.

This program was run over the past 20 weeks at Durham Road School and Cyril Jackson Senior Campus. The program used football as the vehicle to activate students in physical activity and provide a pathway for community engagement through football, employment and career training.

Integrated footballer, Toby Anscombe, from North Beach Football Club was employed by Swan Districts to attend each session to coach and mentor the participants. Toby was joined by Gemma Houghton, Swan Districts and Fremantle AFLW player and Shane Beros, the Swans Community Development Manager.

The program included visits from Fremantle Dockers Players, WAFC District Officer Christian Tulfilli and two games were held at Steel Blue Oval for both schools to come together and play on the hallowed turf of Steel Blue Oval.

Cyril Jackson program participant Josh Rudd also joined Swan Districts for his school work placement and has been involved in gameday operations for WAFL fixtures during the home and away season.

Cyril Jackson student Maddison Rogers came second in the annual Swan Districts NAIDOC art competition and many of the Swans Inclusion Program participants attended the celebrations of the NAIDOC event held at Steel Blue.

The program was received with great enthusiasm and it was pleasing to see the participants enjoy playing footy, but more importantly helping them understand the opportunities that are out there in the community for them to be a part of.

“So often our students don’t have the opportunity to engage in mainstream sports. The opportunity to play and engage in a football program aimed at developing key skills has been not only a physical and fitness boost, but has contributed significantly to the student’s feelings of self-worth and increased their involvement in the community that so often seems to ignore them”, said Durham Road Deputy Principal Heath Bradley.

In 2017, Swan Districts reset its purpose, vision and values. The club’s new purpose is to build community and develop people.

The vision is to be a well-connected and community-engaged football club which improves people’s lives. The club’s values that provide the foundation to deliver this aspiration include – we act with integrity, everyone matters, raise the bar to be the best person you can, and we fly together.

The Swans community development model is helping challenge the traditional community service model. Its more contemporary asset based community development model uses football as a common language to identify, connect and mobilise our community assets (people). The club aims to empower people to facilitate change and not rely on services.

The Swans strategy is to build a community where everyone belongs, matters and contributes. It shifts the focus from service provision to enabling people to control their destiny. “We build on what is strong in our community, not what is wrong”, says Shane Beros.

“Our outreach strategies empower people to use their strengths to contribute to community. This valued contribution to community will in turn help build self-worth”.