State of Play : State of Play - Issue 1
STATE OF PLAY | ISSUE ONE C ommunity-based sporting clubs are a fundamental part of the Australian way of life. No matter one’s age, gender, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background or ability, community-based sporting clubs encourage and facilitate a sense of belonging, as well as health and well-being. Contributing to the community is an intrinsic responsibility of clubs and to do so, they need initiatives that promote giving back to the community. One club that excels in this field is Hoppers Club in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria. State of Play chats with the club’s CEO Michael Lewis to learn about his philosophy of giving back and why it matters to him. How do you encourage a community focus at your club? A strong community focus has always been part of the club’s DNA. The club has a proud history of supporting the community through a variety of services and fundraising efforts. There are about 75 staff at the club and we have a focus on educating our staff to be involved with community-focused activities. What are some initiatives and campaigns you run for the community? Hoppers Club host weekly raffles with proceeds going to organisations including the Werribee Mercy Hospital Palliative Care Unit and West Justice Family Violence, and we continually take part in a range of fundraising activities such as the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal and Daffodil Day, among many others. We also provide free access to the club’s facilities to schools and community organisations. A simple but powerful example is our annual Salvation Army Christmas Toy Appeal. Every year we put up a Christmas tree in the club’s reception, where members and guests can place a present for distribution by the Salvation Army to less fortunate families. How do you ensure that your staff and external stakeholders are involved in these initiatives? Supporting the community is a value that is promoted amongst the staff on a daily basis, and we are constantly enabling them to find ways for the club to give back. Though it isn’t just the staff who are motivated; our suppliers are also keen to join in the action, as well as the local businesses that we come in contact with. They regularly learn about the programs and initiatives we’re running and when they buy into us, they know that their money both directly and indirectly goes back to the community through all our campaigns. Our contributions are modest, I’m sure, compared to what others may do. But the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, so if everybody in a club does their bit then the community will be stronger, and that in turn strengthens the organisations that support the community. It’s a cycle where everyone benefits. ■ GIVING BACK AND WHY IT MATTERS A strong organisation and a stronger community is Michael Lewis’ passion, and he actively promotes this as CEO of Hoppers Crossing Club. THE SUM OF THE PARTS IS GREATER THAN THE WHOLE, SO IF EVERYBODY DOES THEIR BIT THEN THE COMMUNITY WILL BE STRONGER.
State of Play - Issue 2 Vic