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Reclink Supporting Gambling Harm Awareness Week - Reclink Kickstarts Activities in Latrobe Valley

An upcoming multi-sport series, a family sports program and walking groups across the Valley are some of many new sport, arts and recreational programs to be offered by Reclink to support people at risk of gambling harm in the Latrobe Valley communities.

The program is funded through the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation’s Latrobe Valley Gambling Harm Prevention Project and delivered by Reclink Australia, a charity focusing on connecting people through sport, recreation and art programs to promote social inclusion.

Reclink Latrobe Senior Sports Coordinator Laura O’Neill says despite the difficulties with starting the program during the Covid pandemic, the local team is planning a range of fun and social programs in the Latrobe City Council area and the Baw Baw Shire area.

“Part of Reclink’s focus for this project will be providing programs to regional areas that don’t have many resources,” Ms O’Neill said. “We want to tap into the towns that haven’t had any social connection opportunities and connect with people who have been isolated through Covid.”

While Covid restrictions are in place, the Reclink Latrobe team has been busy distributing activity cards and sports equipment packs to engage community members in physical activity.

“We are aiming to deliver at least 50 sports packs, some of which contain a skipping rope, basketball, soccer ball, and resistance bands, and others which are more individualised, to families and individuals in need of sporting equipment,” she said. “The feedback so far has been very positive.”

An advisory group will assist with the programming and will include people who have a lived experience of gambling or gambling harm.

“The voices of those who have lived experience of gambling harm will form an important element of our programs,” Ms O’Neill said. “We want to hear feedback on what programs might work, what the barriers for participation are, and adjust our programs accordingly.”

With restrictions easing this week, the Latrobe team will begin their program, with their first pop-up sports session to encourage community members to join in some light physical fitness in Moe.

Walking groups are also being planned, with one starting in partnership with the local Neighbourhood House in Moe in the coming weeks as well as a family sports program in Yinnar.

A four-week multisport series will start in November, in partnership with Gippsport. This is designed to appeal to the 16 to 25-year-old age cohort and is aimed at young people at risk of gambling harm, or negatively affected by gambling.

Other programs will run alongside local bowls clubs, to give older community members additional social connection and engagement opportunities, through lawn games such as Finska, and non-competitive tennis games.

All programs have Covid safe measures in place.

For more information on Reclink’s Latrobe programs, contact Laura O’Neill via email laura.oneill@reclink.org or phone  0418 295 345 or like their Facebook page for all the latest program information -  facebook.com/reclinkaustralialatrobevalley

Article: Callista Cooper.

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