Sharks Have Heart – ‘Inclusivity and Diversity’

From mentoring and creating career transitional pathways for indigenous youth, increasing cultural awareness education in schools, supporting families and children with additional needs and providing inclusion opportunities, Sharks Have Heart play a major role in Inclusivity and Diversity with the community.

The community arm of the Cronulla club, Sharks Have Heart aims to inspire, engage and endorse equality and they do it through the three pillars of 'Social Impact', 'Have Heart' and the crucial area of 'Inclusivity and Diversity'.

Perhaps the biggest area of Sharks engagement and influence in the community are the programs under the 'Inclusivity and Diversity' banner, initiatives which include Sharks Tomorrow's Stars, Footy Fever, School To Work, a School and Cultural Awareness program, Repair to Ride and Kick Start, while Mega Jaws, Skillz4Me, and Sharks Buddies interact with adults and children with additional needs and varying abilities.

The results and outcomes from these programs, as emphasised by Sharks Football Club CEO Barry Russell, are in line with the vision for Sharks Have Heart to be recognised as a world class community engagement and social impact organisation.

"Our commitment is unflinching. Using football as the vehicle, we continue to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution, resulting in a healthy, vibrant and stronger community," Russell said.

Sharks Tomorrow's Stars, where female Indigenous students work with career counsellors and participate in a range of individualised career-based activities, empowered over 150 students in 2018, enabling them to make realistic and meaningful choices for their futures.

School To Work and the Cultural Awareness Program delivered by Aboriginal Elder Aunt Deanna Schreiber, are two programs achieving outstanding results in the Indigenous space, while Footy Fever, Repair to Ride and Kick Start aim to motivate young males, helping them to set positive goals and make better life choices.

In Mega Jaws, Skillz4Me, and an All Abilities School program, the Sharks are creating welcoming and inclusive environments for children and young men and women with a range of different needs.

And the Sharks Buddies program, which involves a partnership with Gig Buddies, sees the Sharks reaching out to adults with a disability in an effort to build confidence through social interaction and inclusion.

"The Sharks have been great advocates for our cause, supporting us to deliver on our objective of promoting social inclusion and enabling people with disability to become actively involved with Sydney's live events scene," expressed Matthew Collins from Gig Buddies.

The Sharks provided game day tickets to Gig Buddies clients during the 2018 NRL season.
The All Ability programs coming under the Sharks Have Heart banner reach 1,100 adults and children, with the Reconciliation Action Plan programs engaged more than 350 students throughout the year.

The Sharks also become heavily involved with Naidoc Week and the NRL's Indigenous Round, with the NRL squad playing their round 10 match against the Raiders and again the following week against the Bulldogs in a specially-designed Indigenous jersey.

A major assist for Sharks Have Heart in their efforts to deliver impactful programs in the community, is the support provided by Capital Bluestone, with Managing Director Ben Fairfax identifying an opportunity to align their brand with Sharks Have Heart and to build on their current community involvement.

"Capital Bluestone is now the proud Platinum partner of Sharks Have Heart and we are honoured to be associated with the Cronulla Sharks Community legacy," Fairfax said.

"Not only has the partnership provided us with another opportunity to be a part of the local community, but it has enable us to share in a great legacy of inclusiveness and community give-back, with some of the programs and initiatives delivered being truly inspiring."

To read the full 2018 Sharks Have Heart report, including forwards by Barry Russell and Ben Fairfax, information detailing the work carried out and programs coordinated and supported by the Sharks, as well as testimonials from parents, students and members of the community - CLICK HERE