AFL Victoria Multicultural Program Partners, the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne, have both been honoured at Victoria’s 2012 Multicultural Awards for Excellence.
North Melbourne’s Multicultural Program The Huddle was awarded the Premier’s Award for Community Harmony, whilst the Bulldogs were recognised for their contribution with a Service Delivery to Multicultural Victoria Award.
As Multicultural Program Partners of AFL Victoria, these two clubs, along with other AFL Clubs received funding and assistance to undertake initiatives within their local communities.
AFL Victoria General Manager Grant Williams believes that these partnerships have been an extremely effective initiative.
"The strength of our programs relies on the strong partnership of AFL Victoria and its partner AFL Clubs to deliver our shared objectives of social inclusion and engagement with Multicultural communities," Williams said.
Premier Ted Baillieu’s message to award winners signified the importance of these organisations work within the community.
"Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence provide an exceptional opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations from so many diverse backgrounds.
"Each of the recipients has illustrated selfless commitment in their chosen field to create positive opportunities for their own community as well as delivering benefits to the broader Victorian community as a whole," Baillieu said.
North Melbourne Football Club’s community and educational arm ‘The Huddle’ provides a multi-facetted approach to addressing social cohesion issues among young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in North and West regions of Melbourne.
In 2012, the program reached 9,000 individuals through the use of sport, technology, positive education, team building and mentoring. These activities were delivered by staff in conjunction with the Club’s playing group and young people from the local communities.
The Western Bulldogs were acknowledged for their project based in Melbourne’s Western suburbs that targeted primarily young Islamic men from a local Mosque, the Newport Islamic Mosque (NIS).
The More than a Game projects initial aim was to use sport, football in particular, to engage with the Islamic young men from the NIS to address issues of harmony, cultural identity and social cohesion.
However, the project ended up reaching a broader audience, in particular the Jewish community, which in turn led to larger and unexpected outcomes being achieved.
The projects series of personal development sessions, recreational workshops, sporting activities and events resulted in a focus on cross-cultural engagement and the breaking down of stereotypes between young Muslim and Jewish men.
In 2011 Essendon Football Club was awarded the Victorian Multicultural Business Award (Marketing) for their Multicultural Program, specifically their work with the GLoBALL program.”