Record $160,000 raised as Australian sports stars unite to tackle homelessness
Australia’s leading sports stars have come together to tackle the nation’s growing homelessness crisis by helping to raise a record $160,000 for Wesley Mission services.
Wesley Mission’s Sports United event attracted more than 220 people, including current and past sporting heroes and identities who shared their stories and support for the cause of ending homelessness.
The number of people experiencing homelessness has increased from 104,000 to 116,000 in just five years: a fact that resonated with those attending the Sports United fundraising luncheon.
Former Australian Wallaby Tim Gavin told the crowd that homelessness was a growing problem that must be addressed.
“A lot of people find themselves homeless through no fault of their own and we should support them if possible,” Tim Gavin said.
Joany Badenhorst, the co-captain of Australia’s Paralympic Team said homelessness was an issue close to the heart of most Australians.
“I’m lucky where I’m in a position where I have this platform as an athlete and it’s a privilege to help share the work of Wesley Mission,” Joany said.
Australian Olympic water polo gold medallist Taryn Woods said she found it frightening that 18 per cent of all people experiencing homelessness in NSW were children. “It really gives you an idea of the people affected,” Taryn said.
The event was hosted by former World Cup winning Wallaby Rugby Union Captain Nick Farr-Jones who interviewed some of the sporting identities.
Up for auction were a range of outstanding events and hospitality and entertainment packages including:
- An evening of theatre and dining for two at the Sydney Theatre Company and Felix restaurant.
- Golf Weekend Hunter Valley at the Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club
- One year unlimited Wilsons parking at the Sydney Opera House
- VIP evening at the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Tetsuya dining voucher
- The ultimate Roosters package: a Captains Club experience for four people at the Allianz stadium, including a plated two-course meal, pre-game entertainment with special guests
- Spectacular three night stay on Scotland Island
- Corporate lunch at Clayton Utz and signed Ricky Ponting Cricket Bat
- A seven night stay in a two bedroom Old Queenslander at Port Douglas by inspired White House apartment.
Other sports stars lending their support were former NSW and Australian cricketer Greg Matthews, former Bulldogs, NSW captain and Australian rugby league half back Steve Mortimer, and Australian Gold Medal Olympic Diver, Matthew Mitcham.
Wesley Mission CEO the Rev Keith Garner said he was delighted at the level of corporate, business and sporting support for the event which is now in its ninth year. He also thanked Nick Farr-Jones and Philip Hartog for their work in organising the event.
“The event is growing year by year but so is the demand for our services,” Mr Garner said. “Preventing homelessness and caring for those already trapped in its grip is becoming more complex and challenging.
“As demand for our homeless services grow, Wesley Mission is relying more than ever on the generous donations received from our supporters so that we can continue this vital work.”
Gold sponsor for the event Chatswood Toyota was delighted to support the Wesley Mission Sports United Annual Lunch claiming it to be “an outstanding day and a most worthy cause.”
“Of course the primary driver is that our contribution and support will assist in helping those fellow citizens who find themselves homeless,” said Ian Mayer, Managing Director of Chatswood/Ryde Toyota.
“Our company believes if you are in a position to help then you should do so...hence why we have a selection of organisations which we support on an ongoing basis.
The secondary driver is that it is a fantastic opportunity to listen to some outstanding Australians who have achieved sporting fame….and allowing the guests to understand the adversity that many have faced whilst on the path to sporting success.”