13 May 2020

Canberra sporting codes band together for bushfire relief

| Michael Weaver and Dominic Giannini

Canberra’s Alison Bai at the Apis Canberra International (Bendigo) 2020. Photo: Tennis ACT.

Canberra’s major sporting teams and codes have joined forces under the #WeAreOne banner to provide support for the volunteers and those affected by the current bushfire crisis sweeping the South Coast, Monaro and Southern Inland NSW.

The Plus500 Brumbies, Canberra Raiders, UC Capitals, Canberra Cavalry, ACT Meteors, CBR Brave, Canberra Chill, Canberra United FC, Basketball ACT, Tennis ACT, Netball ACT and the GWS Giants have all united in an unprecedented effort to provide whatever support they can.

Tennis ACT is currently running the Apis Canberra International, which was relocated to Bendigo due to the ongoing bushfire activity in the region. The event is part of Tennis Australia’s Aces for Bushfire Relief campaign, where $100 will go to the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief and recovery fund for every ace served during the tournament.

Tennis ACT CEO Kim Kachel said day one of the campaign saw 143 aces hit, raising a total $14,300.

Canberra’s own Nick Kyrgios got the ball rolling by promising that for every ace he hits across summer events, $200 will go to firefighters and bushfire victims. A number of tennis stars have since jumped on the initiative, including Ash Barty who’s donating her Brisbane International prize money.

Brumbies Rugby will provide free entry for all volunteers and will be fundraising at their first home game of the season on 31 January against the Reds. The Canberra Raiders will follow suit in their first home game of the season against the Titans on 13 March.

Brumbies Rugby CEO Phil Thomson said the thoughts of the sporting community are with those communities experiencing the effects of the devastating weather events currently around the country.

“Community is the backbone of our organisation and with much of our supporter region directly impacted we want to do all we can to offer support,” Mr Thomson said.

Canberra Raiders’ CEO Don Furner said the Raiders are proud to be involved in the #WeAreOne initiative and will continue working with the NRL on a number of initiatives to support the regions affected by fires.

“The Raiders have close links with several regions which have been heavily impacted, including the South Coast and Riverina, and want to do as much as we can to support these communities which support us.”

UC Capitals General Manager Lucille Bailie said the #WeAreOne initiative will provide much-needed support to communities impacted by the NSW bushfires.

Kia Nurse and Kelsey Griffins from the UC Capitals have pledged $5 for every point the team scores during the next five Canberra Capitals games.

The money will be split 50/50 between the Salvation Army and the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), while the Canberra Cavalry will auction off signed helmets and jerseys, with 100 per cent of the funds raised going towards the NSW RFS.

Capital Football CEO Phil Brown said they are pleased to join fellow Canberra sports teams and organisations to support people affected by the devastating bushfires.

“During the next two competition rounds, Football Federations Australia, the A-League and W-League clubs will be raising funds to assist families and communities impacted by the bushfires across Australia,” Mr Brown said.

“While Canberra United will not have a home match in those two weeks, fans can show their support by contributing to any of the recognised charity partners that this initiative will be directing the funds to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal, the Bushfire Disaster Appeal and Buy a Bale.”

Cricket ACT CEO James Allsopp said Cricket ACT and the ACT Meteors are dedicated to doing all they can to help fellow Aussies during this tragic time in our history.

“As Canberrans, we are very grateful to have been minimally impacted by these bushfires and we feel it is our duty to give back to those who have lost so much, including our cricket family in the Southern District Zone,” Mr Allsopp said.

Netball ACT CEO David Marjoribanks said the bushfire crisis has had a major impact on families, communities, emergency workers and volunteers across our region.

“As part of the #WeAreOne initiative, Netball ACT will be working to ensure the efforts of both the Netball and the broader CBR sports communities provide the best possible benefits to those affected in terms of immediate and longer-term support. Many individuals and organisations in the ACT have already made significant contributions to the relief effort and we look forward to adding our support,” said Mr Marjoribanks.

Netballers and Fire and Rescue firefighters

ACT Fire and Rescue firefighters Joe Box, Tim Briggs and Todd Clarke with Giants netballers Kim Green and Sam Poolman at Calwell earlier this year. Joe is also a Masters Netball gold medallist. Photo: Michael Weaver, Region Media.

CEO of Hockey ACT and the Canberra Chill team Rob Sheekey said it has been an exceptionally difficult period witnessing the devastation that the bushfire emergency continues to cause across Australia.

“Hockey ACT is proud to be involved with the #WeAreOne initiative and will commence our fundraising appeal by offering $10 for every goal that our ACT sides score at the Australian Indoor Hockey National Championships currently taking place in Wollongong,” Mr Sheekey said.

On behalf of the CBR Brave and Canberra Cavalry, director Dan Amodio said he was proud to support the #WeAreOne initiative.

“We have already begun our fundraising efforts by partnering with AllBids.com.au to make some unique items and experiences available for auction with all of the proceeds going to support the brave men and women at the NSW Rural Fire Service.

“We’ll be continuing these auctions throughout the first half of the year, leading up to the start of the AIHL season in April,” Mr Amodio said.

Chief executive of the GWS Canberra Giants David Matthews said the scale and magnitude of the events of recent weeks are unparalleled and the Giants organisation is committed to providing assistance to the many communities affected.

“The #WeAreOne campaign will see the Giants come together with a number of clubs representing the ACT to use sport as a vehicle to help those in need. We are also working through a range of initiatives to provide support for those impacted by the NSW bushfires, with plans finalised in the coming days,” Mr Matthews said.

Larger events with all teams uniting together will be scheduled throughout the year to provide support to the regional clubs and their members of all sports who may have lost equipment, clubhouses and their homes.

To donate to The Salvation Army Disaster Appeal, go to salvationarmy.org.au, call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or donate at any Woolworths checkout.

Donations to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery appeal can be made here.

The St Vincent De Paul Society is also running a NSW bushfire appeal with food, clothing, furniture, other essentials and funds to pay bills. Donations are welcome at here.

WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) is accepting donations to help their efforts in supporting displaced and injured wildlife affected by the fires.

The Australian Red Cross is also welcoming blood donations.

Original Article published by Michael Weaver on The RiotACT.

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