Tuesday 31 October 2023 — Three tennis clubs and three surf schools in New South Wales and Victoria are better off today, following their selection by world champions and AIA Ambassadors Ash Barty and Stephanie Gilmore as recipients for a donation by AIA Australia, the leading life, health and wellbeing insurer.
As AIA Ambassadors, the two superstars have personally selected sporting clubs and organisations which are focused on creating more opportunities and healthier outcomes for young people. The selected recipients will deliver programs aimed at increasing female and First Nations participation, and improving mental health and wellbeing. A total of $60,000 in sporting equipment donations and grants will be given to these tennis and surf programs.
Kids from the chosen tennis clubs and surf schools have joined Barty and Gilmore in Northern NSW for a special celebration announcing the donations at the Pottsville Beach Tennis Club, followed by a surf lesson at Cabarita Beach, alongside fellow AIA Ambassador Shane Crawford and representatives from AIA Australia.
“At AIA Australia, we are championing Australia to be the healthiest and best protected nation in the world. We recognise the importance of physical and mental health, having positive social interactions, and the health benefits of being outside,” AIA Australia CEO Damien Mu said.
“We’re delighted to be able to give back to local community sporting organisations that mean so much to our inspirational AIA Ambassadors Ash Barty and Steph Gilmore. Whether it’s tennis or surfing, these clubs are doing an incredible job nurturing a diverse array of young people to pursue the things they enjoy, which also happen to have long-term health benefits."
According to the most recent data from the ABS, only 26 per cent of Australian 5-12-year-olds and 8 per cent of 13-17-year-olds accumulated at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. Research shows physical activity habits established during childhood can persist into adulthood.
“The donations AIA Australia is announcing today will help support the lifelong positive health journey of the kids who belong to these clubs and hopefully inspire others to start taking the small steps that ultimately lead to living healthier, longer, better lives,” Mr Mu added.
AIA Ambassador Ash Barty said she was excited to be able to shine the spotlight on local sports clubs making a difference to young lives in their communities.
“Community sport was a huge part of my life growing up and my positive experiences at local sporting clubs helped shape my journey as professional athlete. It’s terrific to be able to thank these three tennis clubs for the amazing work they do in supporting young athletes from all backgrounds, and to give them a financial boost to improve their resources and I'm looking forward to seeing how these clubs will use the funds to create more opportunities and healthier communities.
AIA Ambassador Steph Gilmore added that the clubs chosen to receive the donations might otherwise be overlooked for additional financial assistance.
“I'm really passionate about ensuring surf programs are accessible for all people, and the work that Naru Surf Gatherings, Forster Board Riders and Ocean Mind are doing to breaking down barriers to participation and supporting wellbeing is incredible. These are clubs whose resources are often stretched to the limit – yet they still go that extra mile to help and inspire potential athletes of tomorrow,” Gilmore said. “From buying new surfboards to funding teaching and wellness programs, these donations are a great way to celebrate the work they’re doing.”
The clubs announced as receiving donations from AIA Australia today are:
- Westside Tennis Academy (Coffs Harbour, NSW)
- Pottsville Beach Tennis Club (Pottsville, NSW)
- City Community Tennis (Surry Hills, NSW)
- Naru Surf Gathering (Coffs Harbour, NSW)
- Forster Board Riders (Forster, NSW)
- Ocean Mind (Anglesea, VIC)