The Starkick All Abilities program, in collaboration with the WA All Abilities Football Association, teamed up with the Fremantle Football Club’s Purple Hands Foundation, to deliver a memorable football experience for children living with disability in the Kimberley.
Over 60 primary and high school students with disabilities from Cable Beach Primary Education Support Centre, St Mary’s Primary Education Support Centre, Broome Senior High School, and St Mary’s College Education Support Centre, took part in the two-day Inclusion Football Carnival alongside their peers.
The purpose of adding an inclusive element to the Kimberley 9’s carnival was to actively engage junior participants from the region who, due to their challenges and disability, may not have had the opportunity to engage in football or any other team sport previously.
The two-day carnival provided a safe and enjoyable environment for participants, fostering new friendships and most importantly having fun and enjoying themselves.
WAFC Inclusion Specialist Rob Geersen thanked Purple Hands Foundation, the Shire of Broome along with community football leaders and parents for their support.
“It was the idea of Purple Hands Foundation to extend the carnival to support all children and this has enabled us to showcase the Starkick program to the wider community,” Geersen said.
“The engagement from the participants as well as the local community, exceeded my wildest hopes and expectations, we saw parents and teachers take part, it was an amazing few days.
“This opportunity has created a demand for Starkick to be a regular fixture in Broome, and I’m proud to say in partnership with West Kimberley Junior Football League (WKJFL), Starkick will launch in Broome next year.”
One student who participated in the Inclusion Football Carnival said: “I can’t believe it; I’m going to get to play footy!”
Geersen said these moments show the impact the Starkick program has with participants and communities and adheres to the program’s mission ‘if you want to play, we’ll find a way’.
“That student had spent a decade without being given the chance to be involved in footy, now through Starkick he can take part in footy, not just as a one-off, but for weeks and months ahead now that Starkick will launch in Broome for season 2024,” Geersen said.
“WKJFL President Scott Hill said following Starkick’s visit the region cannot wait to launch next year.
“It's fair to say we all left in awe of what this All-Abilities program is doing for children with disabilities and we can't wait to be involved here in Broome,” Hill said.
“There was great interest from not only us at the WKJFL but also local School Principals, parents and carers of children that have been craving something like this in our region which has given us the confidence the program will work.
"We look forward to working with Rob and the team to ensure its success beginning in 2024.”