A new fund aimed at fostering the advancement of talented children and teenagers on the Sapphire Coast was launched last week.
Local Rotarians, business people and councillors gathered at the Wharf Restaurant in Merimbula to announce the start of the Sapphire Coast Arts and Sports Youth Development Fund on Thursday, June 16.
The fund is the brain child of local Rotarian and former Australian Paralympic athlete Ron Finneran.
“The birth of this fund spans many many years from my work on winter sports for people with disabilities and the Paralympic committee but I go back even further to my own family,” Mr Finneran said at the launch.
Mr Finneran’s daughter was a very talented ballet dancer who needed to travel to Sydney frequently before finally joining the Royal London Ballet Academy. He said he understands the struggles families go through to support their children and knows of athletes who have not had the opportunity or were unable to get to Melbourne or Sydney to advance their skills.
“That to me is simply a shame and I have always wanted to do something about it,” he said
Councillor Russell Fitzpatrick praised the efforts of the organisers Mr Finneran, Steve Goodchild, Wayne Tuckfield and Neil Austin.
“As a parent you want to give your child every opportunity and you don't want to be in a situation where you can’t do that,” Mr Fitzpatrick said. “I think one of the saddest things in society is when we don’t see our kids reach their potential because we’ve held them back.
“Now this fund may not be great big dollars but it’s to encourage and help these kids and these families to get to those higher levels and it really does need to be applauded.”
Mr Finneran plans to approach local businesses in the hope of convincing them to donate a yearly amount of $250, but to get the fund started, the Rotary Clubs of Pambula and Merimbula each donated $2,500.
“For an endeavour such as this to work we need the funds and we are delighted to have $5,000 to get us off to a fantastic start,” he said.
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