The Uni-Norths Owls’ home game against Canberra Royals on Saturday (29 July) will also be an opportunity for the team to raise funds and awareness for mental health organisations in the ACT.
Buoyed by last year’s success in raising $40,000 for a Tongan village destroyed by a tsunami in 2022, the Uni-Norths Owls have now turned their focus to local charities.
Saturday’s game at ANU North Oval will double as a fundraiser and promotion for charities in the mental health space in Canberra, with a specific focus on young people.
The money raised will go towards Hands Across Canberra, Headspace Canberra and Mental Illness Education ACT. Mental Illness Education ACT provides mental health and wellbeing support for Canberra workplaces, community groups and secondary schools across the ACT, while Headspace Canberra provides a free mental health service for young people aged between 12 and 25.
In many ways, the collaboration is close to home, given the number of young people involved with the Owls.
In 2023, the Owls prioritised raising funds for the local community and have worked with leading charity organisation Hands Across Canberra to establish strategic fundraising partnerships.
Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon said Uni-Norths have shown that a rugby club can have a direct influence on the community.
“Sport has a profound ability to reach parts of the community that we can’t always access,” he said.
“Sport has a unique position in the community and Uni-Norths have proven that sport can be used to help the broader community.”
Owls Secretary John Fely said the Uni-Norths’ fundraising activities have also provided the club with an avenue to reconnect with the community following COVID.
“Last year’s fundraising for the Tongan village of Kanokupolu was such an incredible experience for the local community and club. This year we want to highlight Hands Across Canberra’s message of embedding a culture that gives back to the local community and supports emerging issues and needs,” he said.
Young people’s mental health, in particular, has been identified by the club as an emerging and significant issue, which it hopes to address through the upcoming fundraiser.
The game day will also include raffles, auctions and donations and will showcase the positive role played by Canberra sports clubs in the broader community.
The fundraiser game day takes place on Saturday 29 July at 10:55 am at ANU North Oval.