SMILES ALL ROUND: Nanango Little Athletics Centre members celebrate their end-of-year break-up at the Nanango State High School oval.
SMILES ALL ROUND: Nanango Little Athletics Centre members celebrate their end-of-year break-up at the Nanango State High School oval. Kate McCormack

Big news for little athletes

NANANGO Little Athletics Centre has received a $4400 grant from supermarket giant Coles to purchase new sports equipment.

The athletics centre celebrated the final meet for the year with an afternoon tea this afternoon on the Nanango State High School oval.

There was an extra reason to celebrate this afternoon, as the centre's new equipment had just arrived ready to go for the 2019 athletic season.

Funds for the grants were raised through the sale of specially-marked chiller bags designed by kids.

The Nanango Little Athletics Centre is just one of around 100 centres across Australia to receive a sports grant to replace or expand their sports equipment.

For every bag sold, 25 cents was directed to the Coles Little Athletics Community Fund to provide centres with sporting equipment grants.

Coles State General Manager Jerry Farrell said Coles was delighted to provide grants to help the Little Athletics centres in locations such as the South Burnett.

"Thanks to our customers who have bought our range of chiller bags at Coles stores, we are able to provide around $360,000 in grants for Little Athletics centres around Australia to help them purchase equipment to support activities such as high jump, discus, hurdles and the various running events,” he said.

"The Nanango Little Athletics Centre told us they would like to receive a grant to buy hurdles, starting blocks and shot puts... We were delighted to help because we know these items are an essential part of Little Athletics to support young budding athletes.”

Coles Little Athletics Australia CEO Martin Stillman said the grants were important for many centres which needed new equipment to continually provide a high quality and safe weekly experience.

"The response to the establishment of the Coles Little Athletics Fund has been fantastic, with applications flooding in from centres across Australia for the first round of funding. It shows that there's a real demand for new sports equipment in the local community,” he said.

The Nanango Little Athletics Centre only started operating in September 2017 and is already home to 50 children and 8 qualified coaches.

The second South Burnett Little Athletics centre was established after the committee saw a growing need for an athletics club for children coming from more remote regions of the South Burnett such as Yarraman and Blackbutt.

"By having a centre in Nanango some families have been able to cut their commute back significantly, meaning more South Burnett kids can come and get involved,” Nanango Little athletics treasurer, Carolyn O'Connor said.

"This grant has really helped us purchase items that will help our athletes to get the techniques down pat. It's been a huge benefit for us,” she said.

The Nanango Centre has used the Coles grant as well as the $10,000 grant from the Stronger Communities Programme and the $35,000 from the Gambling Community Benefit Fund to purchase much-needed equipment such a high jump mats, hurdles and even a long jump pit with is due to start being constructed in January.