Margaret River footy event hits the mark

6 people participating in a football drill at a 'Come and try' session

APM Communities recently held a 'Come and try' session in Margaret River to encourage people with disability to try out Australian Rules at the local Hawks footy club.

The session kicked off on November 28 to highlight the International Day of People with Disability the following week. Margaret River is a regional town located south of Perth.

APM Communities team member Linda Stanlake said the event kicked off with great anticipation to mark the international day of acknowledgement.

“Individuals with varying abilities and buckets of enthusiasm were taken through their paces during a fun, fast paced and well-structured session,” Linda said.

APM Communities helps NDIS participants and people with disability to identify and access the support they need. APM Local Area Coordinators work directly with people with disability, carers and supporting family members.

Teams work with local businesses and community organisations, by providing tailored support to help them improve inclusion for people with disability.

Linda said the session was led by Hayden Marchetto, Integrated Football Coordinator from the Western Australian Amateur Football League, and all the participants enjoyed having a crack at the game.

one of the particpants in a football drill, running to pick up the football

“There were “footy legends” who had played football in the past, along with some absolute novices who came for a kick and a laugh. Hayden Marchetto, and his son Kai, ran eager players through their paces,” Linda said.

“But it was clear that no matter the skill or fitness level, everyone really had a blast.” Linda said the activity was followed by a well-earned lunch and cold drink.

Players and supporters left with goody bags and a keen commitment to continue in the new year.

A group of participants from the footy open day in a team huddle on the oval

“Upon reflection, it was clear to me that the day was very much about fitness, fun and community connectedness, and that a game of footy was the perfect conduit,” she said.

“We all look forward to a great season ahead. Go Margaret River Integrated Hawks team!”

Linda said the great turnout has led to a greater outcome in that not only will this become an ongoing weekly session, but the new recruits will be under the Hawks’ club umbrella.

“This means official Hawks’ guernseys (like our mainstream peers) as well as being part of their Friday night social events.”

Linda said she was also invited to the annual IDPWD Disco, held annually at the Margaret River Recreation Centre.

“There was a huge turnout and some of the best dance moves I have ever seen. According to DJ Ryan, this is the best event he has ever hosted,” Linda said.

As part of the NDIS Partners in the Community program, APM Communities help people with disability in several regions in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory to access support.