Olympic & World Champion Sally Pearson and little athletes with the Coles Community Bags that funds new sports equipment. (Picture: Contributed)
Olympic & World Champion Sally Pearson and little athletes with the Coles Community Bags that funds new sports equipment. (Picture: Contributed)

Funding relief to help North Burnett athletes stay on track

GAYNDAH and Monto Little Athletics Centres have been given much-needed funding boosts for the upcoming season thanks to grants totalling more than $6,000 from Coles.

The Little Athletics centres were among 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.

Gayndah Little Athletics’ Secretary Leah Trott said the grant will help get its athletes and volunteers back on track after a tough year.

“The new equipment will enable our centre to provide activities that are fun, active and engaging,” she said.

“We’ll also be able to use the grant to buy line marking paint which can put a huge drain on the club‘s finances.”

The local centres will use their funding to buy new equipment such as discuses, shot puts, measuring tapes and line marking paint.

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.

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 Aussie champions and Coles ambassadors like Sally Pearson and Brandon Starc.

Monto Little Athletics’ Secretary Amy Spletter said the grant will enable their centre to continue to grow and cater for more athletes.

“As our small centre is growing in numbers we need to replace and upgrade our equipment,” she said.

“Athletics equipment can be quite expensive, so this grant is a huge help to us.”

Coles State General Manager Jerry Farrell said Coles was pleased to continue its support of Queensland’s budding athletes and parent volunteers.

“We know it’s been a difficult six months for everyone involved in community sport. We hope these grants 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 more than $314,000 in Queensland 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.

Coles has raised more than $1.68 million to 376 Little Athletics centres across the country since November 2018.