Media Release For Immediate Release 16 May 2014
RECLINK LAUNCHES URGENT APPEAL
TO SAVE PROGRAM FOR DISADVANTAGED AUSTRALIANS
For only a half-million dollars, Australia’s corporate sector can help to save the Reclink National Program, which benefits disadvantaged Australians.
An urgent appeal launched this week by Reclink Australia’s Chair Mr David O’Halloran aims to rescue this highly effective and inexpensive program, now facing potential decline.
This week’s Commonwealth Budget cut funding for the Program, which delivers annually more than 110,000 sport and recreation participation opportunities to tens of thousands of disadvantaged Australians. These include people experiencing mental illness, disability, homelessness, substance abuse, addiction, and social and economic hardship.
“Reclink Australia has to cope with this funding loss, so I’m appealing to corporate Australia to contribute a relatively modest $500,000 to make up the shortfall,” Mr O’Halloran said.
He pointed out that disadvantaged people have long been regarded, unfairly, as the ‘poor cousins’ in programs designed to improve the community’s social inclusion, health and wellbeing.
“In the national interest, we must continue to deliver and sustain our national Program, which helps thousands of disadvantaged people every year, through more than 400 partner organisations across Australia.”
As a Board and as an organisation dedicated to supporting and improving the lives of people less fortunate than others, we have a corporate and social mandate to find the money, which we will do,” added Mr. O’Halloran.
“Sport and recreation fights isolation, isolation goes hand in hand with disadvantage and the Reclink National Program is helping to break the cycle. Our Program is recognised by many state and local governments for the important role we play in providing a pathway to social inclusion for marginalised people.”
“Unfortunately unless we can find $500,000 from government, or a private or corporate benefactor, we are going to have to make some critical decisions about the delivery of our programs in a number of locations.”
RECLINK APPEALS TO CORPORATE AUSTRALIA (cont.)
A recently released four-year longitudinal study by La Trobe University into the effectiveness of Reclink’s National Program described it as “a catalyst for a better life for participants” and highlighted many of its social benefits, including:
- Breaking down the barriers to isolation;
- Encouraging self-esteem and self-confidence – reduced stress and anxiety
- Improving physical condition – weight loss and increased cardio vascular fitness
- Acquiring skills, training and pursuing employment opportunities
- Providing a sense of community, greater connection
- Establishing and maintaining friendships
- Alleviating boredom
The same study reported a high likelihood for participants to return to a negative lifestyle in the absence of Reclink programs.
It also noted that for many disadvantaged Australians, an escape from their area of disadvantage may not have been possible were it not for Reclink.
The study concluded that Reclink was responsible for fostering increased social inclusion, addressing or ameliorating mental health issues and positively transforming lives.
Media contact: John Ballis, CEO (tel) 0417 564376 (m); 03 94196672.
ABOUT RECLINK AUSTRALIA
Reclink Australia use sport and the arts to enhance the lives of people experiencing disadvantage and targets some of the community’s most vulnerable and isolated people - those experiencing mental illness, disability, homelessness, substance abuse, addiction, and social and economic hardship. With a network of over 400 member agencies around the country, Reclink Australia encourages participation in physical activity in a population group under-represented in mainstream sport, recreational programs and associations. In the past 12 months Reclink Australia provided more than 110,000 individual opportunities to participate in over 12,000 sport and arts activities around the country. Reclink was responsible for the award winning Choir of Hard Knocks TV series on the ABC, and were recently selected by Australia Post as one of seven Neighbourhood Community Partners.