NSW Football Legacy Grant awards funding to RISE Coffs Harbour

RISE Coffs Harbour had a big year in 2023.

THE RISE Youth Wellbeing Program ended 2023 on a high after securing funding worth $13,850, through an NSW Football Legacy Program designed to capture the lasting impact of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh announced the funding, saying the grant would help inspire the next generation of footballers on the Coffs Coast.

Mr Singh, the Shadow Minister for Tourism and Emergency Services, said sport was a huge part of the fabric of the Coffs Coast.

RISE Coffs Harbour will use the funding to help its players improve their football with technical training and to increase connections to important youth services.

RISE began in 2020 to help local refugee children integrate into the community using football as the global platform for inclusion.

The program has grown significantly and RISE is now recognised as a prominent hub for aspiring young footballers with a diverse membership of about 200 players aged from 4-18 years.

Almost half are children from refugee backgrounds.

The Junior Program is for 4–11-year-olds and the Youth Wellbeing Program operates for players from 12-18 years.

There is a dedicated RISE bus service which takes players to training and then to school five days a week, as well as offering a Training Breakfast Program which provided more than 200 breakfasts this year alone.

RISE Technical and Business Director Phil McMullen said the latest grant was one of many success stories for RISE in 2023, and said the program aimed to help every player reach their full potential and to live ‘life with purpose’.

“With good self-esteem and confidence, young people make positive choices and explore their full potential,” he said.

“RISE is football without barriers, it’s about young people achieving their goals and connecting with their community.

“If you can’t get to RISE, we have a bus.

“If you need food, we offer breakfast, if you don’t have a uniform, we supply one.

“If you can’t get to school, the RISE bus gets you there.

“Our RISE Partnerships Program also helps families find solutions to some of life’s problems.”

In addition to technical football coaching and development, this year RISE kicked a number of goals including:
partnering with Gold Coast United to provide elite pathways for talented North Coast NSW footballers (already three players have secured contracts with GCU), developing a Youth Wellbeing Program, creating a Community Connections Program, establishing a Refugee Assistance Program, and forming an alliance with Lighthouse Health and Education to offer psychological health services and a Respectful Relationships initiative.

Melad Khalan has been with RISE since the very first session and could not thank the program enough for all it has done for him, including helping him get a part-time job at Woolworths.

His passion is football and the high intensity, technical training is providing a fast track for development.

The 17-year-old praised the program and the effort Phil McMullen had put into training him.

“It’s hard to put into words,” he said.

“It’s the fact that Phil wakes up early every morning to come and train us, it’s incredible.

“We can’t thank him enough; he is a great coach and has lots of experience.

“Phil has great skills and he cares about all of us.”

Charlotte Bunny plays in the Premier Youth League (PYL), and has also been with RISE from day one.

The 14-year-old hopes to play professionally in the future, and said taking part in RISE had helped improve her game.

“The soccer is great, the coaching and the intensity, the friendships, getting up early and the motivation,” she said.

“It’s high intensity, physical football and it has helped me improve.

“The kids are great and it is all about developing us as players as well as our wellbeing.”

Yvan Munyaneza is another player who loves RISE, as the 16-year-old explained the benefits of the program.

“RISE has developed my skills,” he said.

“I made the Premier Youth League teams in the 15s, 16s and the 18s for 2024.

“It’s more than just football, it’s about respect, listening to each other and helping each other.”

Phil McMullen plans to enter RISE teams into regional, state, and inter-state tournaments in 2024, and will host a RISE Coffs Cup within the next 18 months.

There are plans to link with other regional clubs across the North Coast of NSW.

As well as playing, registered members can receive coaching accreditation next year, including the Miniroos Coaching program.

To find out more, please contact Technical Director Phil McMullen on 0403 472 154.

RISE Coffs Harbour is a not-for-profit organisation and has a Management Committee of volunteers including business professionals, doctors, teachers, veterinarians, and financial experts.

The major priorities for the next three years are to develop strong links to community organisations and professional service providers to form commercial partnerships that help with projects like the Training Breakfast Program.


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