Social Inclusion Week – The Power of Sport and Inclusion
In honour of Social Inclusion Week, our staff are sharing their own stories of inclusion. Writing about his experiences in sport in a new country is Adam Nankin.
When I first came to Australia, at the age of 21, I didn’t know anyone in Perth. I quickly realised, leaving my entire network in South Africa, that I had no sense of belonging or connection to any people, culture or club. Having played football (aka soccer, that round ball sport, the world game) extensively throughout my life, I decided to join a local club.
As someone who has had little barriers to getting involved, joining a club or playing sport, I found a club that was welcoming and close by. I went to training and quickly found myself a home away from home. The club and the team members I had helped me to integrate into life in Perth and became a second family. I made friends, met others from diverse backgrounds and enjoyed the same comradery I had experienced in other clubs in South Africa, Israel and England. This club welcomed me with open arms and, upon reflection, realised that I was enjoying the game I love and developing relationships that would still be a part of my life 12 years later. I distinctly remember getting my nickname “Saffa” due to where I was brought up and thinking that my diversity and individuality is celebrated.
I have no doubt that my life in Perth would be very different if I had not joined this club. I remember the person I first met. Kind, friendly, welcoming and open to new people joining their club. He asked questions and genuinely wanted to hear my story. I felt included from that point.
Knowing I was part of a community that valued who I was and what I could contribute both on and off the field was amazing. I developed a strong sense of belonging and ownership of the club and had made life long connections in the process.
I now am fortunate enough to work on a project with Manchester United Foundation (although I am a Liverpool Supporter), Telethon and Football West to make the world game more inclusive and create more opportunities for people to find a sense of belonging within their local clubs.
Margaret River Hockey Club
Margaret River Hockey Club did not have a facility to call their own. Through the Inclusion Solutions SICWA initiative, they were able to take their club further than imagined.