Since 2015 the Reclink Community Cup has seen local musicians and media pull on their footy boots and hit the grass to support the charity’s work. With Reclink Australia’s local programming reaching more parts of the state than ever, state manager Andy Asser explains why the Community Cup remains crucial.
“We’ve had state government funding for the last 14 years, and that got axed when the government changed hands,” Asser tells The Adelaide Review. After an initial grant application was knocked back earlier this year, the state government’s ‘Promotion of the State Fund’ stepped in to match the $50,000 funding of the past three years.
“They’ve given us an interim support to cover the gap that we had, so we’ve got a temporary reprieve, but we’re still going to be looking down the barrel if we don’t get that funding renewed, because it’s just a one-off grant. That’s basically 12 months, it expires at the end of this financial year. The difficulty we’ve got is that a lot of grants are just annual, so we have no fallback; last year I had a lot of programs that if it hadn’t been for Community Cup, we just wouldn’t have run them.”
While a government spokesperson disputes recent funding negotiations being characterised as a cut (“There has been no decrease in State Government funding to Reclink and to suggest otherwise is misleading,” a statement reads), according to Asser there remains long-term uncertainty that makes the Community Cup’s fundraising, which in 2018 reached $20,000, all the more essential.
Drawing inspiration from Melbourne’s long-running Community Cup, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, the event made its way to Adelaide in 2015 to support Reclink’s decades of local work. Each year since, the derby has seen a gaggle of South Australian musicians, The Rockatoos, face off against The Anchors, a motley crew drafted from the ranks of local and community media. In addition to providing four-time winners The Rockatoos with an annual opportunity to wipe the floor (or grass) with their rivals, the event has been a boon for its beneficiary organisation in more ways than one.
For Reclink, which organises sports and arts based recreational programs to promote inclusion and wellbeing among young and disadvantaged members of the community, the funds raised by Community Cup support some of its most popular activities, while also providing much-needed financial breathing room that allows Asser’s team to explore new programs. “It’s the innovative and creative stuff we can’t fund through the normal budget, and gives us capacity to expand the program rather than just maintain it.
“What the Community Cup allows us to do is take the program into regional areas to work with a specialised group. For example, we’ve got some kids with disabilities who we’re running a special program for, which is high care, and high cost. It’s really a way for us to be able to target specific programs, and start new programs that we just can’t fund out of our general budget.”
Not to mention the added awareness generated by a fundraiser based around media and music communities, who bring both a ready-made public platform and love of drawing crowds. “I’ve got an annual marketing budget of 50 bucks,” Assel says. “I can’t really spend money on marketing and advertising, programs are the priority. So what the Community Cup has given us is profile within government, within the sector and the general community, and that’s worth gold because it’s opened up lots of other doors,” he says, citing the recent acquisition of an eight-seater bus achieved through contacts made at the event.
“We have people who come and volunteer for Reclink because of it, it’s the promotion of not just Reclink as an organisaiton – I’m not just blowing our trumpet all of the time – but it’s the work, it’s the value of working with disadvantaged people.
“We’re living in a time where the community is fairly fragmented in lots of ways,” he says. “The Community Cup is developing its own history and culture within the group of people who come and play, so I think it has some social capital for the general community as well.
“It’s an opportunity for people to get together, contribute and have fun. Footy’s great for that.”
This article has been updated
Reclink Community Cup
Coopers Stadium, Norwood
Sunday August 4