A donation of sporting equipment to Ballarat's Centre for Multicultural Youth will help young people keep physically and mentally healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Social inclusion organisation Reclink donated sporting equipment including footballs, basketballs, netballs and other exercise equipment to the Centre For Multicultual Youth on Thursday.
Reclink Central Victorian sports coordinator Andrew Dunn said the organisation had adapted its offering since it was forced to halt regular sporting programs for disadvantaged communities due to COVID-19.
"We are keeping in touch with everyone by social media and by personal phone calls through a program called Reclink Connect," he said.
"We launched another program called Sports Share where we are giving brand new sporting equipment that has been donated to us to agencies, so people can still participate in sport and keep fit while they are in lockdown."
Mr Dunn said Reclink had formed new connections, including with the Centre For Multicultural Youth, since COVID-19 restrictions and was looking to expand its programs in Ballarat.
This is giving them that extra help to keep fit but also exercise and enjoy sport.Lunorphare Folly, Centre For Multicultural Youth
He said it was important members of the community who were isolated kept physically and mentally active during lockdown and the donations of sporting equipment was helping them achieve this.
"People have said they now have a reason to get up and exercise whereas before they may have been getting a bit bored," Mr Dunn said.
"They see this brand new gear there and want to get out and use it, whether it is kicking a soccer ball or hitting a tennis ball against the wall or shooting a basketball.
"They are getting up and about where they might not have had gear before and relied on the weekly activities Reclink had, now they have a reason to do activity at home."
RELATED COVERAGE: Ride, dance, stay on move amid COVID-19 isolation
Centre for Multicultural Youth youth facilitator Lunorphare Folly said the donation of sporting equipment would mean young people who may not be able to purchase their own equipment could continue exercising and doing what they love in isolation.
"This is giving them that extra help to keep fit but also exercise and enjoy sport," he said.
Mr Folly said like many organisations, Centre For Multicultural Youth had offered online programs since COVID-19 hit to help people continue feeling connected to their community.
"As humans we all want to feel connected in some way, connected to friends, family, community projects and activities," he said.
"It makes them feel like they are wanted, and they are. Everyone is welcome, especially in this community we have in Ballarat, which is a fast growing one.
"We are giving them that service they are used to having, but on a different platform."
Reclink also runs sporting programs for Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery Centre clients and people in the disability community in Ballarat.
Mr Dunn said Reclink's regular sporting programs created a sense of connection and a feeling of being part of a team.
"A lot of the people we work with can not play for regular sporting teams, so it gives them an outlet to feel that team environment, that camaraderie and all the benefits you get from that."
Visit reclink.org for more information on the Reclink program, or agencies can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about joining the program.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.