In 2014, Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club made the decision that they wanted to engage, support, and include children with disabilities within their club.
The Starkick program was created as a program run by the community for the community. The team and the families would be treated equally to all other club members, including same uniforms, same training/game locations and there would be no “special treatment” such as registration fee waivers.
This program was targeted towards boys and girls who by circumstance or choice couldn’t participate in “mainstream” teams. The club did not want to create a segregated team for those who couldn’t participate in the “mainstream” teams. They wanted to create an environment that would foster, support, and include children who did not previous have the opportunity to be a part of the club.
They developed a simple motto – “If you wanna play, we’ll find a way”.
What happened next
Coolbinia Bombers Junior Football Club saw the following achievements during this program:
- 10% of total club membership are Starkick participants
- 1 in 14 members have a disability
- 139 new members contributing over $30,000 to the club
- 60 new volunteers contributing over $75,000 value to the club
- 400% increase in sponsorship and grants
- Improved engagement and retention of club members
- Community Service Excellence Award Winner
- Principal Partners of the Fremantle Dockers Football Club
- Department of Sport and Recreation Participation Award Winner
- National Disability Awards Finalist
The Starkick program has now been adopted by 4 other clubs within the Perth metro area. The club has been invited to share their story with not only federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra but also the CEO of the Australian Football League.