Little athletes jump for joy over funding

LITTLE ATHLETES: Anna Orton and Jess Frick at Little Athletics on Sunday. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION
LITTLE ATHLETES: Anna Orton and Jess Frick at Little Athletics on Sunday. Pic: ELISABETH CHAMPION

Naracoorte and District Little Athletics Centre has been given a much-needed funding boost for its 20/21 season thanks to a $4,600 grant from Coles.

The Little Athletics centre based at Naracoorte High School is one of 158 grassroots sports club across Australia to share in $521,000 for sports equipment from the latest round of the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund.

It is the single largest round of grants distributed to Little Athletics centres since the Coles fund was established two years ago to support little athletes hoping to follow in the footsteps of champions like Sally Pearson, Brandon Starc and our very own Jess Trengove who still holds some club records.

The funding relief comes amid research from the Australian Sports Foundation in July which estimated that over 16,000 local sports clubs were at risk of closing due to reduced revenues and increased costs arising from COVID-19.

Naracoorte and District Little Athletics' President Fiona Miles said the grant will help get its athletes and volunteers back on track after a tough year.

"The grant will allow us to purchase new Tiny Tots equipment, stopwatches, lap counters and an electronic starting kit," she said.

"It will have a huge impact to our centre, and we are hoping that the new equipment will encourage more young athletes to join the program and bring their siblings and families with them."

Coles State General Manager Mr Pat Zanetti said Coles was pleased to continue its support of Naracoorte's budding athletes and parent volunteers.

"We know it's been a difficult time for everyone involved in community sport, particularly little athletes," he said.

"We hope news of this grant will give athletes, families and volunteers a morale boost ahead of the new season," he said.

"Coles is passionate about helping kids lead healthier, happier lives. That's why we're delighted to have raised nearly $200,000 in South Australia and $1.68 million nationally for local sports clubs through the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund in just two years."

Funds for the grant are raised through the sale of specially marked chiller bags designed by Aussie kids, with ten per cent of every bag sold directed to the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund.

Naracoorte and District Little Athletics have since purchased a new electronic starting gun and two timer/lap counters, thank to the grant.