COLES Little Athletics Community Fund is helping Little Athletics centres to stay on track with more than $250,000 in sports equipment grants to be distributed to 73 local centres across Australia for this summer’s season.
The latest round of grants takes Coles’ donation to grassroots Little Athletics centres to more than $2.2 million in four years. The funds help centres to buy new sports and safety equipment such as javelins, discuses, hurdles and defibrillators to support aspiring athletes and community volunteers.
This year’s grants have been made possible with money raised by Coles, its banana growers and customers during the inaugural Coles Little Athletics Banana A-Peel held earlier this year, when 10 cents of every kilogram of Cavendish bananas sold in Coles supermarkets was donated to the cause.
Coles Little Athletics Australia CEO Myles Foreman said the grants should “help centres immensely, particularly those severely impacted by the NSW and Queensland floods in February”.
“The past two seasons have been extremely testing for our clubs and centres who have battled numerous challenges such as COVID-19, floods and bushfires,” Mr Foreman said.
“These natural disasters and the pandemic have not only impacted on Little Athletics centres’ ability to fundraise at a local level but it’s also had a huge impact on the morale of the centres. The grants from this round of the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund will not only help centres buy new equipment but it will lift the spirits of their volunteers, athletes and families for the new season.”
Coles general manager for corporate and Indigenous affairs, Sally Fielke said Coles was “delighted to continue to support grassroots Little Athletics through initiatives like the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund and banana donations”.
“Coles has been a proud supporter of Little Athletics for over five years, and we’re delighted to provide more than $250,000 in sports equipment grants to help local centres kickstart their new season,” Ms Fielke said.
“We’re very aware of the challenges local Little Athletics centres have faced over the past two years and we’re proud to do our bit to help them to recover and grow so that kids and families can continue to enjoy Little Athletics each week.”
Among the centres to receive a grant is Maryborough Amateur Athletics Club in Queensland whose clubrooms were under water seven months ago.
Club president Gavin Grantz said the grant would help the centre to rebuild and recover from the devastating floods.
“The floods last season destroyed some of our equipment and it also damaged our buildings, grounds and canteen equipment, which means that our ability to fundraise this season will be severely impacted,” Mr Grantz said.
“The grant from Coles will allow volunteers to concentrate on training the athletes rather than constant fundraising as the club is still needing to pay for other repairs to the grounds. It will help us to buy a new trolley for our volunteers to move equipment safely and efficiently and the new hurdles and javelins will provide a more enjoyable experience for our athletes.”
In addition to providing more than $2.2 million in equipment grants, Coles has donated more than 3.7 million bananas to Little Athletics centres since 2017.