Diversity and inclusion embraced by Melbourne Football Netball League

The Southern Football Netball League (SFNL) in Melbourne were awarded an Australia Post One Netball Community Award last year, for waving the rainbow flag and showing support of diversity and inclusion throughout their league and community.

Understanding the mental health impacts of homophobia, the league has formalised its position in making their sporting community inclusive of all people, through an endorsement to embrace diversity and inclusion as part of its social charter, including the LGBTIQ community.

This position was marked with a league-wide Pride round in August last year. The round focused on celebrating equality, demonstrating the belief that everyone has the right to participate in sport, either as players, officials or spectators, regardless of their sexuality

While receiving the award is an honour for the league, CEO, Michael Palmer, believes it’s important for grassroots sport to make everyone feel included.

“We feel very passionate about supporting LGBTIQ, but also extend that to all cultural groups. Everybody is welcome,” said Palmer.

“There was all sorts of colour and celebration of the LGBTIQ community, but what really stood out was its impact as a collective message of inclusiveness.”

Following the success of the inaugural Pride Shield match between St Kilda City and St Pauls Football Netball Clubs in 2016, the league is looking for new ways to celebrate the LGBTIQ members of their community.

As part of their prize as a Community Award winner, the club was paid a visit by Melbourne Vixens midcourter and previous Australia Post One Netball ambassador, Khao Watts who ran a training session for their interleague netball team.

“Khao was insightful on the importance of inclusion. She shared her stories, goals and ambition and really inspired the players leading in to their competition.”

“We will have another pride round and a pride cup, but we don’t want it to be just one Saturday of the year. We feel very strongly to have inclusion and diversity embedded in our league throughout the entire year,” said Palmer.

Southern Football Netball League received a $1,000 Australia Post Load and Go gift card as well as a signed 2017 Australian Diamonds team netball for the club.

If you know a club, association or individual that goes above and beyond to create a welcoming netball environment, nominate them today for a 2018 Australia Post One Netball Community Award. But hurry – nominations close Sunday 29 July. Visit onenetball.org.au to find out more.