Authors: Tim Brewster
Event: 2002 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Getting Active and Creative, physical health, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The RecLink Football competition in Melbourne, Victoria provides an opportunity for socially disadvantaged people to play football in a fun and friendly social environment. Season 2001 saw the introduction of the Dandenong Kangaroos into the competition. Players and team organisers came from local mental health programs, welfare organisations, and the local community. The team comprised players of all levels of ability and backgrounds, some with mental illness and some without. The focus was on fitness, fun, and developing a social network throughout the club that included families and friends. Local businesses, councils, and service clubs got behind the team as sponsors and supporters. AFL clubs donated club jumpers and equipment and hosted the team to training sessions at their facilities.
This paper describes a program that addresses two issues. First the link between mental illness and physical fitness and how the football team provided an opportunity for players to increase their level of fitness through an activity that emphasised participation and having fun. Second, using a community development model, it traces the development of the team identifying the goals and strategies formed along the way. It highlights the sense of community that occurred within the team and the benefits of integrating players from varied backgrounds.
Daniel, as a player, offers his own views and insights regarding his involvement on the team and the effect it has on his life.