Partnership to court leadership and health

A new partnership will encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to the basketball court, in a new push to improve health outcomes in the NT.

Flinders University’s Aboriginal-led health centre Poche SA+NT has signed a partnership deal with Hoops 4 Health to enable more first nations youth to recognise their capabilities and understand health through the pioneering basketball-based health and leadership program.

Hoops 4 Health is celebrating 20 years of delivering programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids across Northern Australia, and sponsorship from Poche SA+NT will help purchase a trailer-based fold-out basketball court which will enable more programs to be delivered to remote communities.

Poche SA+NT will also provide health information and Flinders will provide program evaluation – helping to demonstrate the value of Hoops4Health to young people. Flinders staff have also prepared an Impact Report of the past 20 years of Hoops 4 Health.

“Poche SA+NT has committed to helping train 500 people as health leaders by 2025 and we are going to do that most effectively by partnering with organisations with a great track record that are ready to grow,” Poche SA+NT Director Associate Professor Maree Meredith said.

“Health4Hoops has made a difference to the lives of thousands of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the past 20 years, and we can add value to that not only through funding, but also through evaluation – so that Timmy Duggan’s team can prove the value of their work.”

Associate Professor Maree Meredith and Timmy Duggan (front row, left) with staff and students from Flinders NT and Hoops 4 Health

Hoops 4 Health founder Timmy Duggan said that the partnership with Poche SA+NT was worth far more than sponsorship funding.

“Basketball provides an arena for us to work with young people on leadership, communication and health – which is a beautiful fit with the focus of Poche SA+NT,” Timmy Duggan said.

“We are not trying to coach NBA players – our program is about giving every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young person a chance to learn about new opportunities and to grab onto opportunities to change their lives for the better.

“Our volunteers and staff work with young people in prisons, remote communities and urban settings, providing support, information and encouragement to discover and try to be their best selves.

“The Partnership with Poche SA+NT is a valuable step forward enabling us to reach for new goals.”

Associate Professor Meredith said partnership was key in driving better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

“There has been a focus on creating new programs for way too long, without having a closer look at existing programs that are working and thinking about how we can add value to them and make them stronger,” she said.

“Hoops 4 Health has been changing lives for 20 years, but they haven’t had the resources to evaluate the outcomes of their program and measure impact.

“Government and philanthropic funders will be much more likely to jump on board when our partnership shows the impact. That rapidly increases our ability to reach health leaders and to enrich the Health 4 Hoops program, rather than trying to invent different ways to engage with young people that are not proven yet.”

Mr Duggan said the partnership would strengthen both organisations, but more importantly, strengthen programs for young people.

“At the end of the day, we need strong, sustainable programs that are proven to be effective in empowering young people, helping to unlock their leadership capabilities and increase their knowledge. Together, as partners, we will be able to deliver that much more effectively than if we each were trying to do our own thing.”

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College of Medicine and Public Health Flinders NT Flinders Rural and Remote Health