The vital support provided by Barnados Australia to communities in Western NSW has been recognised with a $100,000 grant.
The funding - through the Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity program - will assist Barnardos to provide family season passes to local pools in the Mudgee, Orange, and Wellington areas, to families that Barnardos support, along with private swimming lessons for children identified as requiring such.
Migrant groups, people with physical and intellectual disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be the focus of this new initiative aimed at ensuring all Australians can participate in sport and physical activity.
Federal Member for Calare and Minister for Decentralisation and Regional Education Andrew Gee, welcomed the funding for Barnados, praising them for their work in local communities.
"Barnados continue to play a critical role in bridging the divide and encouraging social inclusion across Western NSW," Mr Gee said.
"They do a fantastic job of supporting some of our most vulnerable community members, including bringing them opportunities that may never have been able to access otherwise.
"Providing family swimming passes and swimming lessons is one of the best ways this funding could have been used.
"The ongoing drought has meant that locals can't swim in the rivers, dams and lakes that many would look to come summer, so providing this access is a wonderful substitute.
"The drought also means communities are still living with tight water restrictions which means running through the sprinkler or having a wading pool in the backyard are not even on the cards for some.
"Access to the local pool will also provide social connection for families within their communities.
"Congratulations to Jodi Burnstein, Jenny Hargreaves and the whole team at Barnados for all their hard work and tireless efforts. I have no doubt you would have changed the lives of many, for the better, time and time again. We are incredibly lucky to have passionate community advocates such as yourselves in Calare."
Barnados Australia is one of 57 successful recipients selected as part of the program, Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and community-based group sport and physical activity resumes, grant recipients have been given an extended timeframe to December 2022 to deliver funded activities.