Kyneton Football Netball Club will field its first Football Integration Development Association team in 2021.
FIDA provides Victorians with an intellectual disability the opportunity to participate in Australian Rules Football at a competitive level.
The Victorian FIDA Football League was first formed back in 1991 and is the oldest community-based football leagues in the state for people with a disability.
Affiliated with AFL Victoria, the FIDA League provides an environment that promotes fitness, fun, friendship and a sense of belonging. Through participation in football, it enhances life skills and develops self-esteem, confidence and improved health.
Kyneton FNC president Hayde Evans said the club has been working hard both on and off the field to continually build strong connections with the community and create a culture of openness and inclusiveness.
"Knowing we have wonderful organisations like Windarring and Cobaw Community Health in the Macedon Ranges, both of which do amazing work to support people with a disability and their families, we just knew this was a great opportunity to ensure anyone who wanted to play AFL could have a place to access it at the Kyneton Tigers,'' Evans said.
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Hayden Walsh, a long-time member of the Tigers, has played in FIDA teams at Echuca and Bendigo for the past three years and is excited to now have a local team to play for.
"It will bring the disability community together in our local area and give them a chance to play footy, and be part of a great sporting club,'' he said.
Walsh said it was a great opportunity for players to ''maintain good physical and mental health and fitness through exercise".
Zander Blanden, who has also played for FIDA teams in Bendigo, is happy Kyneton is creating a local FIDA team and can't wait for the chance to "train and play more footy, and kick torpedos while helping his team-mates kick more goals".
Kyneton has teams across the Bendigo senior, women's and junior football leagues as well as A-grade, B-grade and under-17 netball.
Evans said the club's new executive voted unanimously to accept the new FIDA team.
"It's great to now be able to add a FIDA team to the list and continue to provide more opportunities for people to access sport across the region."
The Kyneton Football Netball Club and FIDA league are hosting a come and try day on February 7 the Kyneton Showgrounds at 11am followed by a BBQ lunch.
Anyone interested in joining, volunteering, supporting or sponsoring the new Kyneton Tigers FIDA team is encouraged to attend the free session or contact Elle Dow by e-mail, email@example.com or register your interest via firstname.lastname@example.org
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