Sapphire Coast’s young talent time

A fund to support local youth in both arts and sporting endeavours has clocked up almost 12 months in operation, and $12,000 in grants.

The Sapphire Coast  Arts and Sport Youth Development Fund marked its first year with a special function at Club Sapphire Merimbula on Friday afternoon. Guests included fund recipients and their families, as well as community supporters and council representatives.

The fund was started in September 2016 by Ron Finneran and Steve Goodchild with several others, and has since grown to help around 20 young people from right across the district.

It’s run entirely by volunteers and funded by donations from businesses, individuals and a council contribution

The fund is for assisting those under 18 in our district in arts as well as sports pursuits “both of equal importance for our youth as far as we’re concerned” according to member Neil Austin.

Several of those young stars were introduced to the crowd on Friday, sharing their ambitions with Colin Dunn from Sapphire FM Community Radio.

Recipients have followed a diverse range of passions, from viola to women’s rugby, swimming to stage production.

Mayor Kristy McBain attended Friday’s function, congratulating the young recipients – and the fund organisers – for their amazing dedication and hard work.

She outlined how the council was able to find $2000 when sifting through its budget to contribute to the fund.

She also said it was good to hear the question for our young people being changed from “what do you want to be when you grow up?” to “what are your ambitions?”.

Mr Finneran encouraged the whole Sapphire Coast to get behind the extraordinary number of talented youth the district has by contributing to the fund.

“Everyone knows the Sapphire Coast is a beautiful place to live, but it’s a long way to travel for experts in tuition,” Mr Finneran said. 

“We can’t always cover the entire costs, but hope we can help out with fuel and travel to get you where you need to go.”

“Yes I’m on the hard sell, but it is worthwhile – we’re doing good things,” he said.

Donations to the Sapphire Coast Arts and Sports Youth Development Fund can be made to BSB 633108, account number 158310037.

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