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Upper Ferntree Gully Football Netball Club

Building strong and connected communities is important for everyone. Local footy clubs provide an opportunity to bring people together, increase participation in sport, promote social connection and create a sense of belonging. Research tells us that all these elements protect children, young people and adults from social isolation, alcohol and other drug use and poor mental/physical health.

The 'Our Club': A Place for Everyone Initiative undertook a Club Engagement Survey in June 2020 to find out how Eastern Football Netball League (EFNL) clubs are keeping members, supporters and the community connected whilst football was on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions being in place.

Upper Ferntree Gully Football Netball Club undertook a variety of initiatives to keep members connected including:

  • Use of social media and group email communications. In addition, a player Facebook page provided the opportunity for players to engage with each other and keep updated on life in isolation.
  • Leadership Group Comm's Tree - Each of the 9 leaders have approximately 5 players each that they are responsible for keeping in contact with. They set up WhatsApp threads, text messages or used other platforms depending on what suited each group.
  • Leadership & Senior Coaches Group communicated via WhatsApp and online meetings to ensure leaders were engaged and informed in decision making and to continue work on standards and values development.
  • Direct Contact with players - Senior coaches had one to one conversations with 40+ senior players to check in on welfare and impacts on the individual of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Club says that a mix of initiatives have been successful in keeping members socially connected.

Members insights:

  • "I've missed connecting with the club, and one challenge is the uncertainty around the impact Covid will have on football operations, so I've been using the break to plan for 2021".
  • "I sent messages to team mates to check in, and when restrictions were lifted, I set up a training schedule with a couple of mates to keep fit, and more importantly keep up the social connection".
  • "I really miss that Family Feeling you get with the club on a Thursday night when parents and players get together for a meal, and also catch up on Saturdays on game day to support the players. Can't wait for 2021 when the season restarts!"

Club website: Upper Ferntree Gully Football Netball Club

Resource: 'Our Club': A Place for Everyone Initiative