Fostering social inclusion through rugby league

Fostering social inclusion in adolescent and young adult Indigenous populations through the sport of rugby league will become a reality thanks to the help of a $590,000 Federal Government grant.

The grant, from the Driving School Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity program, will see QUT partner with Indigenous Community Controlled Health Services and local sport clubs.

The program will include a series of rugby league-based sessions to be held in two Queensland communities – Cherbourg and Toowoomba, incorporating physical activity and sport skills, and education sessions related to social inclusion (health, education, personal and social development).

Toby Pavey.

Led by QUT Faculty of Health’s Dr Toby Pavey, Dr Lee Wharton, Associate Professor Debbie Duthie and Louise Baldwin, the sessions will promote positive benefits for health behaviours, increased knowledge of healthy lifestyles and community health resources, increased self-esteem and social networks, and greater promotion of community identity.

Dr Pavey said the regional communities would be involved in co-design, coordination and participation.

“The program will build capacity but recruiting program leaders from the communities, whilst featuring Queensland sports heroes to run a selection of the social sporting skills sessions,” Dr Pavey said.

In the communities of Cherbourg and Toowoomba, QUT will partner with Cherbourg Regional Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Service (CRAICCHS Cherbourg) and Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Company (Toowoomba).

“We’ll also be partnering with local rugby league clubs in the areas,” Dr Pavey said.

He said the project aimed to engage young adults to enable them to become more resilient and socially included.

“QUT has maintained long-term partnerships with each of these communities, health services and sporting clubs, enabling us to understand the demographics, extent of the identified need and how the communities will benefit from the proposed program,” Dr Pavey said.

Since 2012, QUT has partnered with Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, Cherbourg Health Action Group Cherbourg – Jumbunna, CRAICCHS, CTC Indigenous Family Support, Cherbourg Hospital, and Murgon State High School.

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