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New football initiative to reach more Indigenous children across Australia

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At an event hosted by Manly United Football Club, John Moriarty Football (JMF) Co-Chairs John Moriarty AM, and Ros Moriarty launched Indigenous Football Australia (IFA), a new national body aiming to reach thousands more Indigenous children across Australia.

IFA will “bring the benefits of John Moriarty Football to Indigenous children, families and communities right across Australia,” John said.

JMF meets 11 of the 16 Closing the Gap targets and is proving to be life-changing for more than 1,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and boys aged 2 to 16 years of age.

The initiative is currently offered in 18 different communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, at a cost of just $1,300 per child per year.

IFA’s nationwide expansion will provide over 3,600 Indigenous school-aged children each week with access to a transformational football and wellbeing program. The program will increase JMF’s footprint from 18 to 36 remote and regional Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

The expansion will also increase JMF’s partnerships with public schools in remote and regional Indigenous communities from 15 to 42 by providing in-curriculum football sessions while creating new jobs for approximately 70 Indigenous people.

“Since launching in 2012 in Borroloola, a small community in remote Northern Territory, with 120 children JMF has kicked many goals. Over the past 18 months alone, our growth rate for participants is over 1,000 percent,” John said.

“We’ve taken children from the bush to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, successfully expanded in three states, held five Indigenous Football Weeks, and launched the careers of several talented young footballers, including Shadeene Evans of the Young Matildas.”

“Building on a decade of successful operations, JMF will reach all states to create more equitable access to the great game of football for grassroots and elite players, together with improved physical and mental health, wellbeing, education and community engagement for Indigenous girls and boys, families and communities,” he said.

The co-chairs also announced a major partnership between UNICEF Australia and Moriarty Foundation, which has been two years in the making. The two organisations will cooperate through global exchange, knowledge sharing and community-driven advocacy. The two share a focus on improving the lives of Aboriginal children.

“UNICEF Australia and the Moriarty Foundation are united in our belief that all Australian children should have an equal opportunity to realise their developmental potential. After almost 10 years of incredible success and sustainable social impact, now is the time to expand JMF throughout Australia, supported by Indigenous Football Australia and its council members,” said UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Officer, Tony Stuart.

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