Local communities play a key role in the development and success of football clubs; so it is essential that rugby league gives back to those who may need a helping hand.
The Burleigh Bears is one club that strives for excellence on and off the field; and while they field a steady supply of talent to local competitions; the club also works hard behind the scenes to help benefit their local region.
This year, the club have hosted a Ladies Luncheon to help fundraise for domestic violence shelters; while events such as their annual ANZAC Round match benefits the RSL.
Throughout the year, these sorts of initiatives have all raised money and awareness for a wide range of charities.
Burleigh Bears CEO Damian Driscoll highlighted just how important community was to any successful football club, whether that be locally or in the NRL.
“All sporting clubs rely on the community because without the community, you don’t have a team because players come from that area,” Driscoll said.
For the past four years, the club has hosted the special ANZAC Round clash against the Hunters – which along with the cooperation of the Burleigh RSL Sub Branch, sees Burleigh players wear an ANZAC styled jersey before auctioning them off along with a BBQ.
This project has raised more than $3000, while the Ladies Luncheon and Pink Round has collected a combined sum totalling more than $8000, with funds going toward local and wider community initiatives.
“Most footy clubs have an ability where they can actually make a difference to the community by running these programs … and we have the ability through the platform of the footy club, to give money, but also time back to the community,” Driscoll said.
“We are in a fortunate position to actually do that.”
Having raised money and awareness for projects such as My Friends’ Place (domestic violence prevention), Rosies (outreach program) and even individuals within the Bears community who are suffering severe hardship or illness; the Bears are a shining example of just how much impact a club can have with its patrons.
For Driscoll, giving back was not about gaining recognition; but was instead driven by a sense of community – and a desire to do the right thing.
“You don’t do it to expect anything back in return, it’s just that you can make a difference and it is goodwill for the club to give back into their community and see the value of what you offer.”
>>> Other Intrust Super Cup clubs have also worked hard to contribute positively to their local community, including clubs such as the Ipswich Jets hosting both an Indigenous Appreciation Game and PNG Appreciation game as well as a Women in League function to help raise money for domestic violence shelters.
The Sunshine Coast Falcons and Redcliffe Dolphins play annually for the James Ackerman Cup to help raise awareness for organ donation; while this weekend, the Wynnum Manly Seagulls will play Tweed Heads at Stradbroke Island in a game that celebrates Indigenous culture during NAIDOC Week.