Sport & Health

Tag teams in Tuesday tournament

Having just completed their third championship, the staff and clients of South Sydney-based community organisation Nazereno Incorporated have something else to celebrate. The organisation has received a $10,000 grant from the Westpac Foundation. Originally funded privately by staff, the boost in funding is a welcome financial relief and an opportunity for expansion.

Hazem El Masri with Jye at Waterloo Oval (Photo: Rowan Taylor)
Hazem El Masri with Jye at Waterloo Oval (Photo: Rowan Taylor)

Nazereno was set up in 2013 by Kevin Goddard. It organises and runs an inter-school touch football tournament for students in special needs schools around Sydney. “I used to work in an alternative education school,” said Mr Goddard, “and I noticed that after the students had gone out and had some exercise they became more attentive.” After trying various sports such as basketball, a touch football version of rugby league called “league-tag” was selected as the most appropriate sport. There are currently around 60 students from the South Sydney area involved in the tournament.

The money will be used to expand the scale of the operation. “We’ve currently got six local schools involved in the program, but we’ve had a lot of interest from schools all over Sydney,” Mr Goddard said. An important step to expanding the program would be the hiring of more staff. Nazereno currently consists of seven board members, two volunteers and Mr Goddard himself. Training of the teams is undertaken by PE teachers at the schools involved. The funds will also be used to pay for field hire, uniforms and transport.

The Westpac Foundation Community Grant program gives non-profit organisations the chance to apply for funding to further their objectives. Jason Yeddin, a trustee of the Foundation stated that Westpac had received “almost double the number of applications that we received last year”. The Foundation has devoted well in excess of $1 million to almost 200 non-profits across Australia since its formation in 1999. Nazereno is one of 65 organisations slated to receive grants from the Foundation this year.

When asked what he enjoys most about running Nazereno Incorporated, Mr Goddard replied: “My favourite part about this organisation is helping isolated kids re-engage with society, and motivating them to do things for themselves. We had a pupil come back and volunteer with us, and that was a very rewarding experience.”

The inter-school tournament is played on Tuesday afternoons at Waterloo Oval.

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