The Essendon Football Club aims to strengthen communities through sport, and a key partnership is with the Tiwi Bombers Football Club. The Tiwi Islands, located 80 kilometres North of Darwin, has become home to some significant social issues, however the recent establishment of a local football team has assisted in making considerable inroads for the community.
Represented by local players who come together from a large number of Tiwi Island communities, the Tiwi Bombers recently completed their fifth season, which resulted in a Premiership in the Northern Territory Football League's Division 1 – an outstanding achievement.
Essendon has a long and proud history of working closely with the Tiwi Islands community to provide meaningful and lasting social and sporting outcomes. The club provides mentoring, administration support, fostership programs and direct funding to the community.
Twice annually the Essendon Football Club visits the community with selected players. This relationship has proved extremely popular and beneficial for both the local community and the club's young footballers.
Outputs and Impacts
Over the course of the 5 year partnership, Essendon Football Club's annual contribution has supported the employment of a Regional Development Manager within the Tiwi Bombers to coordinate all the team's activities and ensure that players are meeting the needs of their training and match programs, along with essential elements such as nutrition, hydration and available safe transport to training and games.
The club's time contribution has provided many benefits to young people in the local community, including increased self-esteem, regular school attendance, and enhanced understanding of healthy eating, such as hydration and nutrition.
The presence of Essendon Football Club, particularly by the club's Indigenous footballers, provides influential role models for the young people of Tiwi Islands. The club's support empowers the people of the community, including young Indigenous children, to make better life choices.
Essendon staff and players who have been given the opportunity to visit the Tiwi Islands have experienced individual development and gained insight into to the everyday problems faced within the community.
"Our relationship initially started with the Indigenous playing talent we had in our squad, led by former player Michael Long and backed strongly by ex-coach Kevin Sheedy. The relationship developed from there and involves extensive football and social outcomes."
Cameron Britt, Community Manager, Essendon Foodbacll Club