Wellington Phoenix’ Football Diversity and Inclusion Programme (FDIP) was recognised by a special event held at New Zealand Police Headquarters last week.
At the event, which also acknowledged Mayor Justin Lester for his role in the New Zealand’s White Ribbon movement which makes a stand against violence towards women, the club received recognition from New Zealand Police for the programme.
Wellington Phoenix’ FDIP is aimed at recently resettled refugees and low socioeconomic communities and provides game day transport and tickets, Phoenix merchandise and coaching clinics to those communities most often in need.
It serves as a recognition of the important role sport plays in building bridges between individuals and across communities, and is run by the club in conjunction with the Human Rights Commission, Red Cross, ChangeMakers, Multicultural NZ, Oranga Tamariki and the region’s City Councils.
The programme started in mid-2017, and in 2018/19, the club issued 755 complimentary season tickets and conducted 32 School visits, 24 Football-related events, 64 Bus to the Nix groups (51 in Wellington; 13 in Auckland), and 7 Community coaching clinics.
In total, 1096 cumulative hours were spent by players and staff in the community
The club was represented by Board member Dame Kerry Prendergast who accepted the recognition at the event.
‘’The club recognises the power of sport to bring people together and to help those less fortunate.
‘’I am proud of all the hard work and investment that the club makes into this very important area of the community.
‘’While hugely appreciated in the communities it reaches, it often goes unnoticed in and this is wonderful recognition for the community team at the club.
‘’Special recognition has to go to New Zealand Police’s Inspector Rakesh Naidoo whose guidance and contacts have facilitated the whole programme from start to finish and contuse to be a guiding hand.
‘’And we’re looking to go even bigger and better next year!’’
Inspector Naidoo said sports teams, with their outreach and influence – particularly among the young – were important partners in Police's mission to make New Zealand the safest country.
"Police all too often see the consequences of violent relationships and divided communities," he says.
"This was an opportunity to honour those in our communities who are working to make this a more inclusive, harmonious and safer country. "