Disadvantaged migrants and refugees can play soccer after Laverton Park Soccer Club received a community grant. The Hobsons Bay Community Fund allocated $3000 to recruit young soccer players, particularly those from migrant and refugee backgrounds in the Laverton and Altona Meadows area.

Club vice-president Jason Curatolo said the money has allowed many kids to play soccer who would might not have been able to afford the fees. Originally the club was built around Melbourne’s Chilean community, the club has expanded to take in players of many different nationalities, including: Somalia, Colombia, Malta, Greece, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Italy, Macedonia and Mauritius, along with its original Chilean base.

“The funds have allowed us to buy more equipment and increase the number of junior teams from five to nine. This included extra under-7 and under-9 teams, making two for each of those grades, in addition to the under-11, under-13 and under-14 teams.”

– Hayden Raysmith, HBCF chairman

“It’s pleasing to see young kids from migrant and refugee backgrounds being given a chance to play sport. Child obesity is a problem in Australia, so keeping kids active is important,” Mr Raysmith said. “We know the assimilation difficulties faced by people who arrive in Australia from under-developed countries, but sport can break down these social barriers.”

“The Laverton Park Soccer Club has shown leadership in expanding from its traditional Chilean base to welcome people from other nationalities, particularly from the African region.