Newcastle Permanent grant goes a long way

Lining it up: A $30,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent has meant Sunnyfield members such as Michael Nelson can play more cricket more often with more friends.   Photo: Gareth Gardner 210317GGB04
Lining it up: A $30,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent has meant Sunnyfield members such as Michael Nelson can play more cricket more often with more friends. Photo: Gareth Gardner 210317GGB04

The Sunnyfield Disability Service received a big boost on Tuesday, which will enable double the number of people living with a disability in the region to access their sports and exercise programs.

While the local organisation already runs weekly, monthly and yearly sports gala days through their ground breaking FitAbility and Wellbeing Program, they have struggled with participation through funding, and that is where the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation stepped up.

NPCF CEO Graham Batten announced a $30,000 grant for the program and said he was pleased the foundation could help to extend a program with such important health benefits for people living with a disability.

“Sunnyfield is a great local agency that holds monthly inter-agency sports days for a range of people with various disabilities, as well as a weekly sports day and a big annual gala day,” Mr Batten said.

“Previously those days have been limited to 75 because of funding and a lack of equipment, but with this grant they can now cater for up to 180 people with disabilities joining in the day.

“We hope the grant can build sustainability through equipment and make the weekly, monthly and annual days bigger and better for everyone involved.” 

The day kicked off at 11am at the Tamworth Sports Dome, with a good crowd of participants from a variety of local agencies and foundations.

Once the formalities were out of the road, the stadium lit up with a couple of games of indoor cricket, before the boche bowls took centre stage for some tense and very close games; all in the name of fun, fitness and good health.

The sports day and announcement also fell on Harmony Day, and the two went hand in hand.

“The Foundation’s really pleased that our grant will allow Sunnyfield to more than double the reach of its FitAbility program, which has been proven to increase health outcomes for members of our community who might otherwise miss out,” Mr Batten said.

“Programs like these make a significant difference, create social access for people with an intellectual disability and reduce barriers to inclusion, and we commend Sunnyfield for their initiative.”

 Sunnyfield CEO Caroline Cuddihy echoed those sentiments and said the grant would change the lives of people in the New England region living with a disability, by increasing engagement opportunities and improving their health.

“The new equipment will be used for weekly volunteer-supported FitAbility programs, monthly inter-agency sports days and an Annual Sports Day,” Mrs Cuddihy said.