A key strategic priority of the AFL Goulburn Murray Strategic Plan is Engagement. Specifically, the priority is to ‘develop stakeholder and community engagement initiatives that add social value and support program accessibility, equality and inclusive environments, particularly in the indigenous and multicultural communities.’
In recognising the significant and growing diversity of the community in the Goulburn Murray, and particularly in Shepparton, a number of engagement activities have been developed and delivered over the past 36 months.
The focus of these activities has been to raise awareness of Australian Rules Football in the multicultural communities. Successful activities have included Multicultural Gala Days, participation in community programs (e.g. Refugee Week, Ethnic Council events, etc), programs delivered in targeted schools with high multicultural communities, recruitment of AFL Multicultural Community Ambassadors, All Nations programs, Richmond FC Next generation Academy activities, a partnership with Shepparton Police to transport multicultural community leaders to AFL games in Melbourne, casual employment of a Multicultural Development Officer for holiday programs, school clinics, etc.
These activities have been very successful with a number of positive outcomes. Importantly, a number of key contacts in different local communities have been established. However, in order to develop and progress future programs and to ensure sustainability a Strategy is required to develop a framework to drive future programs and to ensure we are able to meet the needs of the community. Whilst the strategy will be a Goulburn Murray one it is envisaged that activities will centre on the region’s two most culturally diverse towns – Shepparton and Cobram.