Page 2649 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 25 September 2007

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Latham oval for the 97 peewees—under-six-year-olds—and the 144 players from the under 7, 8 and 9 teams. On 18 September, it was the turn of the 314 girls and boys from the under 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 teams, and the work of 18 referees was also recognised. This presentation took place at the Belconnen Labor Club.

On Saturday, 22 September, also at the Belconnen Labor Club, the presentations for the men’s and women’s teams, including the masters, took place, with 210 men and women attending after a season of tough competition. I would like to thank the Belconnen Labor Club for their provision of a healthy, smoke-free environment in which these presentations could take place.

I would like to declare my interest: I am a life member of the Labor Club. I would also like to congratulate the Labor Club on being major sponsors for the Belwest Foxes and to acknowledge the contribution that the teams, through the support of the Labor Club, make to the community. I also acknowledge the recent corporate sponsor of Belwest Foxes, Bing Lee Belconnen. It is a sign of their commitment to the community that they have come on board to support the Belwest Foxes Soccer Club. It is through these sponsorships that the community is made stronger, in that these sports have the ability to participate in the community and to be part of the glue that binds us.

As someone who was present at these presentations, I have to admit that I was impressed by the energy, coordination and efforts of the small but dedicated team of volunteers who coordinate the work of Belwests. Their skill and experience meant that the presentations flowed well and ensured that everyone was able to relax and enjoy the presentations.

Once again, I draw members’ attention to the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make the club such a success. On behalf of the community, I would like to acknowledge the work of the Belwest committee. Heartfelt thanks are in order for Adrian Dodd, Stuart Wise, Jane Ward, John Hearps, Craig Butler, Pam Saunderson, Kerrie Murray, Peter Auld, Stuart Boschert, Joy Coppin, Toni Dodd, Ian Morton and Brian Golledge. These are the people who make the major contribution to this club. Running the club is not just about collecting fees and organising rosters; it is also about keeping up to date with changes in the rules of the game, enlisting volunteers, grading teams and making sure they have the skills to do this, recruiting and supporting the 100 or so coaches and managers, and encouraging people to come forward to gain skills and put in the time as volunteers. It is also fundraising, ensuring that all teams have quality, safe equipment, enlisting volunteers, merchandising sales, attendance at meetings and forums to represent players, organising interclub visits and school carnivals, promoting fair play—for which the club was awarded the fair play club award for its second and third division teams—and securing sponsorship.

As I said when I last spoke about the Belwest Foxes in the Assembly, the eternal challenges are recruiting and retaining volunteers, and fundraising. Belwest’s success so far has been due to the unstinting work of many volunteers—people with skills they might not have initially realised they had. It is extremely important for clubs that these volunteers are recruited. It is also important to acknowledge the major contribution which is made to the operation of these clubs by generous sponsors such as the Canberra Labor Club and Bing Lee.

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