About Community Programs
The Geelong Football Club can help to sustain the community that sustains it. We have a unique opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to us over 150 years; to contribute to the circle of community wellbeing. An AFL club is often in a unique position to ‘make things happen’ in the community, we can open doors, create networks, lead change initiatives, advocate for progress, and leverage partnerships across industries and agencies. It is our vision to be world class in our community strategy as a sports organisation. As highly visible members of the community, the Geelong players, coaches and staff understand their unique public role and aspire to make a positive contribution to the community.
Geelong Cats have 10 flagship programs that together make up the Cats in the Community Program. All our programs have once central purpose – to build a better and healthier community with a special focus on youth. This lives true to our mission to be the greatest team of all; a club people can be proud of because of how we play the game, live our values, conduct business and engage with the community.
Age: Years 3 & 4
Focus: Health, Nutrition & Physical Education
Childhood obesity is a serious health issue-affecting 1 in 4 children in Australia, and is continuing to develop in children due to three main risk factors: sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition and a lack of physical activity. Healthy Heroes is a new educational program that encourages and inspires students to take positive action to protect and enhance their own health, wellbeing and physical activity participation.
Target in 2017: 4,500 students
Age: Year 7
Focus: Cyber Safety
The massive growth in online activity places young people at far greater risk than any generation previously. The 24/7 online presence has extended the reach of those at risk of bullying, criminal exploitation, and breach of privacy. Cyber Cats is an experiential learning environment designed to enhance student’s understanding of online safety and confidently managing the content of teenagers’ digital footprint.
Since 2012: 1,332 students have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 720 students
Age: Years 8 – 10
Focus: Alcohol Risks & Wellbeing
Alcohol and young people can be a lethal combination. Violence and road trauma are just two of many issues associated with the damaging effects of alcohol. Just Think provides vital practical advice for young people regarding these risks associated. It encourages young people to consider not drinking until they are 18 and engages with parents to provide information and support. The program is highlighted annually with a dedicated Just Think match round.
Since 2012: 876 students have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 660 students
Since 2009: 8 Match Day Featured Games: 302,775 Attendees; 7 million TV viewing audience
Target 2017: Round 14 Cats v Fremantle
Age: Year 5 & 6
Focus: Physical Health & STEM Enquiry
Many young people are increasingly inactive. This together with poor eating habits is causing over 25% of young people to be overweight or obese. This generation may be the first to not live as long as their parents. The BioCATS program educates young people on the importance of healthy lifestyle including nutrition, hydration and physical activity while offering a range of practical maths and science interactive experiences.
Since 2012: 5,899 students have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 1,800 students
Close the Gap
Age: 12 – 17
Focus: Aboriginal Cultural Connection
Aboriginal Australians have some of the lowest levels of education; highest levels of unemployment; and the nation’s poorest health outcomes. Culture plays a significant protective role in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people. Close the Gap works with Aboriginal community members to encourage cultural connection to empower local Aboriginal young people from the Barwon region. The program is also highlighted annually with a dedicated Indigenous Match round.
Since 2012: 162 indigenous youth have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 17 youth
Since 2012: Five Match Day Featured Games: 172,272 Attendees; 3 million TV viewing audience
Target 2017: Round 10 Cats v Port Adelaide
Read the Play
Age: 15 – 16 years
Focus: Mental Wellbeing
Mental health is one of the leading wellbeing issues facing young Australians. Mental disorders are more prevalent for young people aged 16-24 than any other age group, and affect 26% of young Australians in any year. Read the Play supports young people through a unique educational program delivered in sporting clubs that raises awareness of mental health and wellbeing.
Since 2006: 22,200 youth at 581 sporting clubs have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 4,100 youth at 110 Clubs
Age: 5 – 16 years
Focus: Physical Activity & Community Connection
Only 20% of 5 to 17 year-olds are getting the recommended one hour of physical activity every day. Individuals associated with sporting clubs have higher levels of physical and mental health compared to the Victorian population. Clubs develop skills in physical health, team work, problem solving, decision making and conflict resolution. Footy Cats is a multi-pronged program delivered to local junior football clubs and Auskick Centres and via an annual community camp in the Barwon region. Geelong Cats players assist in skill development, supporting mental health literacy messages and encouraging participation in football.
Since 2001: 83,774 young people have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 6,258 young people
Deakin Cats Community Centre
Focus: Being Healthy & Active
In proud partnership with Deakin University, the Deakin Cats Community Centre is a state of the art facility based at Simonds Stadium that hosts Cats in the Community programs and is available free of charge to organisations and groups to run programs that encourage healthy and active lifestyles. This purpose-built facility contributes to the Club’s community vision for greater engagement with the broader Geelong community.
Since 2013: 66,590 participants have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 15,000 participants
Welcome to Geelong
Focus: Social Inclusion, New Arrivals
Racial tolerance, immigration and welcome are critical social issues confronting Australia. When families are settled in Australia for humanitarian reasons, part of their settlement is wanting to connect to Australian culture and to have sense of belonging. The Welcome to Geelong program supports and encourages Geelong’s new Australians to enjoy our game and to connect to other Australians through belonging to a club.
Since 2015: 230 new arrivals have benefited from the program
Target 2017: 300 people
Focus: Community, Equity & Connection
Cats Care responds to community requests and urgent need which are often unpredictable. They may be responses to events affecting the whole community such as bushfires or floods, or they may be individual requests for help, support or connection. Typically, these include hospital visitation; wish granting; and disability group support. Cats Care consist of five aspects: Cats Assist; Cats Wishes; Community Bay; Ambassadors; and The Brook Community Partnerships Program.
Cats Assist since 2001: 240,000 items have been donated
Target 2017: 15,000 items to be donated
Cats Wishes since 2012: 107 wishes granted for people who are seriously ill or dying
Target 2017: 20+ wishes to be granted
Target 2017: 980 match day seats given to those in special circumstances/need
Target 2017: 11 players are involved with charities and not for profit organisations
The Brook since 2009: Provided grants to the value of $720,000 and in-kind support to the value of $80,000
Target 2017: $60,000 grants and $40,000 in-kind support
The Geelong Cats Community Foundation is a registered deductible gift recipient and all donations over $2 are fully tax deductible to the donor.