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Community ties through sport

03 Sep 2019

Community ties through sport Image

By David Schout

The Hub on Harbour Esplanade remains one Docklands’ most visible facilities, and the YMCA believes it can become a focal point for community activity.

The multi-purpose sports courts (which sit alongside the original five-room “hub”) are well-used by nearby workers, but those on the inside want to see an environment where locals also become more involved.

“I don’t want to look at the Hub and just see workers playing sport at lunchtime,” YMCA programs and facilities team leader Tony Crawford told Docklands News.

“I know there’s a local population who would want to use the courts.”

“At the moment one of our challenges is that people walk past and are like ‘we don’t really know what that place is’. I think that’s the challenge.”

The Hub is managed by the YMCA on behalf of the City of Melbourne, and Mr Crawford and the team enable and facilitate other groups to use the space.

The City of Melbourne opened The Hub in 2007 as a community facility for residents and visitors of Docklands. The multi-purpose courts were opened in 2013.

Some of the current sports played at the facility include basketball, futsal and netball.

Mr Crawford said that, through conversations with locals and meeting with figures through the Docklands Community Forum, he and the team hoped to canvass and then meet local needs.

“Our goal is to probably identify some more of the issues within the community and ask ourselves how we can help out and engage with them,” he said.

“The more we can build up people’s programs, the more foot traffic we’ll get. More foot traffic means more knowledge of the centre, and more knowledge of the centre means more local people can understand that this is a space they can utilise to facilitate their needs and challenges.”

One particular group who use the courts are encouraging young men, especially those who might be socially disengaged, to play basketball together as a way of connecting.

Mr Crawford, who has worked at various YMCA facilities throughout Melbourne, said the Docklands facility presented a unique and exciting challenge.

“It’s a lot more dynamic than being at a suburban recreation site,” he said.

“I think the biggest challenge is that it’s a relatively new community here when compared with other suburbs.”

One of the ways they are trying to better convey opportunities at The Hub is through a newly-created Instagram page (@thehub_docklands).

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