Former rugby league greats Petero Civoniceva (pictured) and Luke Bailey will lead a team treating Charleville and Cunnamulla residents to a feast of health, lifestyle and footy tips next week.
The two former players will be part of a 10-member team of games development staff, coaches and former players from the Queensland and national rugby leagues heading to the region for a week-long visit in line with the aims of Project HOPE.
Project HOPE - which stands for Harmony, Opportunity, Pride and Empowerment – is a Palaszczuk Government and community supported initiative currently under way in Charleville and Cunnamulla.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick recently provided more than $385,000 to fund two project officers for the program to develop local initiatives in the two remote communities.
“This is a major event for the two communities and I have no doubt the development team will be welcomed with open arms and large crowds at both locations,” Mr Dick said.
“Project HOPE will address the particular needs of Charleville and Cunnamulla, creating locally tailored programs to address social disadvantage and alcohol and drug abuse issues among young people.’’
A three-person careers advisory team from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will also visit Charleville and Cunnamulla over the same period and provide advice to young people about potential careers in the defence force.
South West Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Lindsay Godfrey said school programs, community events and gala celebrations would be held in both centres.
“Both the QRL/NRL presenters and the ADF representatives have agreed to emphasise drug awareness and healthy lifestyle choices in their educational sessions, along with football coaching and refereeing clinics, mentoring and career advice,’’ he said.
Mr Godfrey said the QRL/NRL was providing its 10-member development team for free for the week, while the Project HOPE partnership was jointly funding the associated travel and accommodation costs for the week-long event.
“I’d like to thank the QRL/NRL for their generosity in providing the Charleville and Cunnamulla communities with the services of their games development team at no cost,’’ he said.
“I’d also like to thank our partners in Project HOPE in joining with the health service to host this gala week.
“Through activities such as this, we will build on Project HOPE’s overall objective of developing economic and employment opportunities, along with social and community capital, to improve a range of health and social outcomes for young people in Charleville and Cunnamulla.’’
The QRL/NRL games development team will visit Cunnamulla from November 2-3 and the Charleville area from November 4-7.
The two-day Cunnamulla visit will end with a free barbecue and community evening at the town hall from 6pm on November 3, with a similar event at the town hall in Charleville from 6pm on November 6.
Project HOPE involves a partnership between the South West Hospital and Health Service, the Paroo and Murweh shire councils, police, the Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health and Charleville and Western Areas Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Community Health to tackle challenges affecting young people.