The Big Give is an event supporting central Victorian community groups. The Bendigo Advertiser will be profiling several of the registered campaigns each week until the initiative ends with a 24-hour giving day on September 1.
“Sorry business” and funerals – those are some of the few times Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative chief executive officer Raylene Harradine said mobs catch up with each other.
“So having an event like the Statewide Koori Football and Netball Carnival is a celebration of our community coming together,” she said.
BDAC has launched a Big Give campaign to help with the costs of the two-day event in October.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria face and experience some of the worst health statistics across Australia and all too often the focus is on the bad things that happen in our community,” the campaign page reads.
“This carnival seeks to address these issues by celebrating our culture, traditions and talents, and showcase them to the wider community.”
Ms Harradine said the carnival also fit in well with closing the gap.
“People are there playing round robin games… it benefits them two-fold in coming together as a gathering and also health-wise,” she said.
This year’s event follows on the success of the first carnival hosted by BDAC last year.
It will be held in Epsom, in partnership with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
Organisers expect the carnival to attract more than 5000 community members from throughout Victoria.
More than 40 teams are predicted to participate.
The Big Give campaign aims to raise $25,000 by September 1.
“The carnival is the largest sporting event in the Koori calendar that brings together the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to participate in sports in one central location,” the campaign page reads.
“It costs a lot to hold such a large event and without support it means that teams and people cannot participate.”
Ms Harradine said the carnival was formerly held around the state annually, but a funding issue several years ago saw the event drop off.
She said BDAC had been keen to bring it back because it united the community.
“It’s not just about the individuals that are competing – the whole family come along,” she said.
The festivities will include a cultural dance-off, children’s activities and a marquee with people showcasing their wares.
“There are benefits for the Bendigo community too, having an event like this.. it showcases Bendigo as the centre of Victoria and is an opportunity people can travel to relatively easily,” Ms Harradine said.