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    LOVE OF LEARNING: Millar, 3, and Josh Grimble read together every night. A Let’s Read program in the Wimmera encourages parents to read to their children to develop their skills before starting school. It has received ongoing support from Horsham Sports and Community Club’s grants program.

Horsham Sports and Community Club support builds opportunities

Seventy-four community and sporting groups across the Wimmera are benefiting from a share in this year’s Horsham Sports and Community Club sponsorship grants.

The groups will receive a share of $100,000 to fund programs, equipment, facility upgrades and events.

Wimmera Regional Sports Assembly received $5000 for the Wimmera Sports Foundation.

Assembly executive officer David Berry said the money would be put towards athletes who were competing in national or international events to further their pathway.

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“Athletes make an application and depending on the level of competition they are going to will change what support they will receive from the foundation,” he said.

“We’re lucky to have been supported by the club for more than 20 years now and an enormous number of athletes have benefited from the foundation.”

Mr Berry said the latest foundation recipient was Ash Hawker, who is in New Zealand representing Australia in shooting and has another opportunity to represent Australia overseas later in the year.

Golfer Jane Sherwood was one of the first athletes the program supported.

Jeremy Clayton, Tim Houlihan, Oscar and Tom McDonald, Jarrod and Thomas Berry, Jake Lloyd and Sophie Alexander were supported for different sporting endeavours and went on to play AFL.

Melissa McClure, Shane McDonald, Shaun and Aaron Bruce, Chloe Bibby and Darcy Tucker are athletes who pursued various sports through the foundation before playing in national and international basketball leagues.

“There have been some pretty famous sporting names supported through the program, so you can see why we are passionate and grateful to be able to provide for local athletes as they start their journey,” Mr Berry said.

Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network received $3000 for its reading program, Let’s Read.

Executive officer Tim Shaw said the program was a way to encourage parents to read every day to their children before they started school.

“The program was developed by Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute,” he said.

“We create bags with a book, book lists, reading tips, library information and a read-aloud DVD.

“Through maternal child health nurses, we distribute the bags to families at key ages and stages checks, at four months, 12 months, 18 months and three-and-a-half years.”

Mr Shaw said the team was appreciative of the funding.

“Let’s Read started in Horsham in 2014 and has been supported since 2015 by Horsham Sports and Community Club,” he said.

“It’s an important program as unfortunately across Australia, there are quite a lot of children not ready to learn when they first get to school.

“Since we started the program, more than 11,000 bags have been distributed to families in Horsham, Hindmarsh, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack municipalities.”

Mr Shaw said one-in-five Wimmera students in their first year of school were not ready to make the most of the opportunity to learn.

“Those students are then behind when they start school and evidence shows they don’t catch up to their peers,” he said.

“Parents are children’s first and most important teachers and so reading and singing nursery rhymes with them can supercharge brain development.”

Horsham Sports and Community Club president Dan Smith said sporting clubs and community groups provided fantastic recreational and social opportunities for many people in the region.

“Our annual sponsorship program helps to keep smaller communities active and engaged,” he said.

“Since inception, the club has now contributed more than $3.1-million to local sporting clubs and community groups in the region, making the life of their volunteers just a little bit easier.”

The entire June 22, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!