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.
Adam Nankin is an Inclusion Consultant at Inclusion Solutions. To get in touch with Adam, please click here.
To find out more check out the United Reds Football League.