A team of Northern NSW Football staff travelled north last week as part of a two-day road trip to deliver flood relief equipment to help clubs replace damaged or lost gear.
NNSWF Head of Football Development Peter Haynes, Community Football Manager Ross Hicks and Club Development Officer Phillip Andrews packed up three vans with $40,000 worth of equipment including size three, four and five Mitre footballs, ball bags, cones, bibs, pop up goals, bownet goals, corner posts, boots and socks.
NNSWF’s major partner of community football Newcastle Permanent also provided goals and cones.
Haynes said NNSWF had worked hard to provide assistance to affiliated clubs hit hard by the floods.
“The road trip was just the latest part of the plan and the $40,000 worth of essential equipment I know will be well received and put to good use when clubs are ready to get back on the pitch,” Haynes said.
“NNSWF would like to extend its appreciation to Newcastle Permanent and Mitre for their generous contributions. And thank you to our suppliers including Umbro, Alpha, Summit and Eagle Sports who have provided equipment at cost or at a discounted rate.”
Hicks said NNSWF understood the plight of clubs and the suffering they had endured.
“We have worked really closely with Steve Mackney at Football Far North Coast and Andrew Woodward at North Coast Football right from the outset,” Hicks said.
“That ongoing communication and collaboration meant we understood the devastation was well beyond damaged infrastructure and lost equipment. Some members of the football community have lost everything.
“We want to assure everyone affected in the Football Far North Coast and North Coast Football regions that they are vital members of our football family. And NNSWF are here to tangibly assist clubs to restore their facilities and get back on the pitch when the time is right.”
Newcastle Permanent’s Chief Customer Experience and Delivery Officer Paul Juergens said the organisation was pleased to be able to contribute.
“Newcastle Permanent’s purpose is to be here for our customers and here for good. And that extends to our local communities impacted by these devastating floods,” Juergens said.
“The recovery effort faced by these townships has been immense but we hope that by helping clubs replace essential equipment and get back to training we can get kids back on pitches and bring a little joy to local communities.”
The gear was transported from the Home of Football at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility to Maclean on Thursday, where the team met with representatives from North Coast Football clubs Maclean FC and Yuraygir United FC.
The team then travelled to Woodburn where they met Football Far North Coast General Manager Steve Mackney and Woodburn Wolves FC president Cameron Taylor-Brown.
The final stop for the day was Tumbulgum, with gear delivered to Tumbulgum Rangers SC and Uki Pythons.
After an overnight stay in Ballina it was an early start on Friday to get to Dunoon to deliver gear for Lismore Thistles, Lismore Workers FC, Kyogle FC and Lismore Richmond Rovers.
South Lismore was the next stop to meet State Lismore MP Janelle Saffin and Steve Towner from South Lismore FC.
There were three more visits to Italo Stars FC at North Lismore, Lismore Thistles and Casino RSM Cobras FC on Friday before heading back to Newcastle.
NNSWF CEO David Eland said while the initial response had been to ascertain as much information as possible, the next phase of NNSWF’s Flood Recovery Plan was about tangible help and support.
“As the waters have receded the flood recovery has shifted gears,” Eland said.
“Our team and I have been in daily contact with Football Far North Coast and North Coast Football to ensure members of the football family are supported when it matters.
“Through this consultation we are now able to move from assessing the damage to rallying support and providing tangible assistance. This road trip that Pete, Ross and Phil have embarked on was just the next step.
“The $40,000 worth of equipment is part of our Flood Recovery Package worth more than $130,000. But we’ve also set up a Boot Drive and a fundraising portal through the Australian Sports Foundation which enables businesses and individuals to make tax free donations.
“And through our Flood Recovery Hub there is information for clubs on financial relief, support, fundraising, mental health and community initiatives. There are several grants and funding packages available to impacted clubs and our NNSWF team members have worked directly with government on behalf of clubs to access some packages. We will also engage a grant writing specialist to assist clubs with other opportunities.
“NNSWF is also working closely with Football Australia and Football NSW to lobby government at all levels for support because a coordinated approach provides focused lobbying to government decision makers that will maximise outcomes for clubs.”
For more information, support or assistance visit the NNSWF Flood Recovery Hub HERE
NNSWF has worked with the Australian Sports Foundation to build a fundraising portal for donations direct to football clubs. Donate HERE