Mental and physical wellbeing are absolutely vital in any community, but in regional WA, sport brings the community together across cultures, ages, and industries.
What brings the Manjimup Rovers together for every game?
Every week the Rovers come together to train and play soccer in Manjimup. Playing a sport in regional WA means playing in the teams’ home locations as well as away locations. For the Rovers this means, driving as far as Bunbury, which is over an hour and a half’s drive away.
Jamie Mair, the MRSC’s Treasurer and Men’s Vice-Captain, likes to encourage the local community to get involved – even though it can be hard work and require hours of volunteering and effort. He is a passionate member of the club and feels strongly about the Club’s inclusivity and the physical and mental wellbeing gained from playing a team sport.
“We all get on well together, and match days are social events. Being in a club is more than just kicking a ball around. We aim to help integrate, create friendships and promote health at the same time.”
The MRSC has seen growing interest across all ages and demographics. 2022 saw a junior’s team being added to the Club, bringing the Club’s membership to fifty players across its junior’s, women’s, and men’s teams.
Its teams are made up of locals who’ve always called Manjimup home, as well as “blow-ins”, from Perth, interstate and overseas, who have settled in Manjimup and the surrounding area.
“We are doing our best to promote soccer, which we believe is integral to a thriving society with mixed nationalities – our team is very diverse, with players from various ethnicities and nationalities. The sport unifies us.”, Jamie said.
Fundraising and how funds keep the team and community sport going.
Every season the team coordinates fundraiser events with the local community to help cover the costs for the season ahead.
While the Club’s coaches and coordinators are volunteers, the funds raised contribute to ongoing operating costs, including grounds and association fees, travel costs, referees, uniforms, and equipment.
Manjimup is well known for being the food bowl of WA and the agricultural industry is one of the main industries that sustains the community in and around Manjimup.
Many farms in the South West rely on international workers; backpackers and work permit holders to help, especially during harvest. During COVID, the lack of farm workers in the area was felt strongly.
Seeing the need for help in the area, and in need of funds for the club, the MRSC coordinated pre-season farm labour fundraising days, meeting at a local farm to do grape, avocado, and apple picking.
“The Club is very socially oriented, so when we get together we are not only exercising our bodies but enjoying the company of peers with a common interest that binds us together. Besides being of great value to the farms, these were wonderful team-building exercises which generated lots of funds for the club to cover our running costs.”, Jamie said.
The Rovers have used their Kleenheat Community Grant to invest in new equipment including match balls, training goals, agility rings, and corner flags.
“It is hard work to keep a club going, and finances are always tight. This grant will help us enormously!” Jamie said.