In our multicultural country, there is one language that cuts across all boundaries: sport. Women and men, boys and girls, young and old, able-bodied and handi-capable, no matter where they where come from or where they live now, Australians follow sports of all kinds and find in them enjoyment, motivation and aspiration.
The Bill Hutchison Foundation’s mission is to harness the power of sport to help children and women, especially in rural and regional Victoria.
The BHF was the founding partner of the Essendon Football Club’s “On the Ball” programme, which helps young people to understand lifestyle challenges and work through their classrooms to reduce risk. This groundbreaking programme focuses especially on obesity and health, promoting participation in sport and encouraging students to develop projects to implement in their schools and communities.
The BHF is a major partner of the AFL Youth Girls’ Academy, the principal outlet for girls and young women who want to carry their love of Aussie Rules into their careers and daily lives.
The BHF piloted work/education programmes with the Rumbalara Football/Netball Club in Shepparton, aiming to encourage young indigenous Australians to stay in school and begin promising working lives, and continues to support Rumba’s activities through the EFC Community Affairs Programme.
For a number of years, through its partnership with the Essendon Women’s Network, the BHF raised funds for Mercy Care’s refuge for mothers and children fleeing family violence; in collaboration with the Essendon Football Club, the Foundation is able to support pioneering work with children and their communities in the Tiwi Islands and in Wadeye, Northern Territory.
In partnership with the Scanlon Foundation, the BHF underwrote the production of the successful film “Falling for Sahara”, which premiered at the Melbourne Film Festival before being shown at the Monte Carlo Film and Television Festival in 2012. In the future, “Sahara” will become a vital tool for schools to promote multiracial understanding.
All these initiatives focus on promoting health and well-being, reducing risk, and ultimately contributing to harm prevention.