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About Us

OUR PHILOSOPHY

V Swans is the education and community development division of the Swan Districts Football Club. We are committed to providing communities, business and government with solutions for sustainable community development using V Swans Active Education Model.

Our ‘Active Education’ programs are leading the way in transferring skills from the sports field to the classroom, translating outcomes in both wellbeing and health.

We are committed to our communities with all program staff based within the community they serve, building understanding and trust with our participants, their families and our key funding and community partners.

WHAT DOES THE 'V' IN V SWANS SIGNIFY

The V Formation of flying birds ensures that the strongest to the weakest of the flock arrive at the same destination at the same time, it also provides the best way to create efficiency, communication and orientation of the flock.

All birds take their turn in the front of the fromation so that they spread the load amongst the team. We believe that these characteristics represent how we as an organisation ensure that all our participants have the opportunity to lead the flock and ensure we all get to the end point by working together as part of a team and a community.

ORGANISATIONAL BACKGROUND

Swan Districts Football Club (SDFC) is committed to being more than just a football club. To us sport is more than a game. Over the past decade V Swans has developed its business to ensure diversity, strength and a shared community vision. V Swans provides a fresh strategic approach as we strengthen our commitment to encouraging and nurturing our participants and have a positive impact on the communities in which we work.

V Swans is the community, education and game development division of SDFC. Growing from one staff person in 2007 to twenty-two in just eight short years. Our programs have a direct impact annually with more than five thousand young people and their family’s. We design, develop and deliver innovative high quality education, community, pathway and individual development programs using sport as the tool for engagement.

We recognise and respect the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the influence they have over our business. We are committed to furthering our understanding to build positive trusting relationships and achieve a shared cultural vision and support ‘Closing the Gap’ outcomes in several key areas for Aboriginal people in WA and across Australia.

 


OUR IDENTITY

We strive to be a leader to young people, particularly Aboriginal youth, as we fulfil their education potential and become empowered in their life journey. We use sport as a vehicle to support our educational and healthy lifestyle messages. We are positioning ourselves to be one of Australia’s most innovative youth, diversion and community development providers.

 


OUR VISION

To ensure Indigenous and Non Indigenous young people are actively and positively participating in physical activity, education and community.


OUR APPROACH

V Swans staff are all active members in their communities, committed to listening and empowering those young people and families we work with. We are focussed on long term projects that produce a lasting and sustainable imprint on each community.

V Swans currently have eighteen full and part time staff based around the Pilbara and four full-time in our head office in Perth; 52% of V Swans staff are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and they are committed both geographically and philosophically with their regions and understand the barriers that living in remote Australia can bring because that’s where we live.


OUR ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE


THE PILBARA

Encompassing 507, 896 square kilometres from the North West coastline to the border of the Northern Territory, the Pilbara is one of the largest regions in WA. Geographically it is thought to be 3.4 billion years old and is often described as the nation’s powerhouse due to the abundance of natural resources.

The countryside of the Pilbara offers unique outdoor adventures.The lifestyle in the Pilbara includes a vast array of outdoor activities such as camping, boating and fishing in some beautiful and remote landscapes.

The region can be separated into three distinct geographical formations.  A vast coastal plain, breathtaking inland ranges and an arid desert region extending into Australia's dry centre. Offshore natural gas is not the only thing to find. The Dampier Archipelago boasts pristine reefs dotted with virtually untouched islands providing a snapshot into the region’s environmental past. 

The region is divided into four Local Government Authorities - Shire of Ashburton, City of Karratha, the Town of Port Hedland and Shire of East Pilbara.The major towns of the Pilbara include Port Hedland, South Hedland, Karratha, Onslow, Newman, Tom Price and Marble bar. A significant number of Indigenous communities are also present in the Pilbara.

The Pilbara is best known for its economic contribution to Australia. In 2010 the Pilbara produced 53% of WA's mineral and petroleum production, representing $71.7b. Key industries in the Pilbara are mining, construction and export, with two of Australia's largest ports by tonnage located at Dampier and Port Hedland. The resource sector is continuing to boom with numerous new projects being proposed. A substantial number of people also work in the region on a fly-in/fly-out basis.

 Climate

The climate of the Pilbara is arid and Sub tropical.  It experiences high temperatures and low irregular rainfall that follows the summer cyclones. During the summer months, maximum temperatures exceed 32 °C almost every day, and temperatures in excess of 45 °C are not uncommon. The Pilbara town of Marble Bar set a world record of most consecutive days of maximum temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius).

Pilbara Aboriginal History

The first people to inhabit this region were ancestors of today's Aboriginal people. Between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago, these First Nation people lived a complex but sustainable lifestyle based on strict social constructs and land-use management practices. Aboriginal society changed radically after European settlement in the area. 

The first waves of Europeans to the Pilbara were explorers. Male pastoralists and missionaries quickly followed. Aboriginal people were overpowered and moved off traditional land to allow pastoral undertakings. Whole Aboriginal populations were moved to different locations and many traditional links were damaged or broken. Forced relocation and several Aboriginal massacres occurred in this period. 

In the Pilbara it was common practise to forcibly retain Aboriginal people on pastoral stations to be used as slave labour. This practise continued until 1946 when a mass walk off the stations by Pilbara Aboriginal people occurred. The people went on strike for better pay and living conditions. This period is referred to as the Strike of 1946.

Many Aboriginal people, especially of mixed descent, were removed from their families and placed into missions, orphanages, and children's homes, adopted or fostered out during the first half of the 1900s. Many children were forcibly removed from their families by the Government of the day. These children are often referred to as Stolen Generation children.

From the early 1800s State and Federal governments legislated for Aboriginal people. A number of these legislations reflected the unenlightened and racist attitudes of the day and therefore impacted negatively on Aboriginal people. The legacy of these legislations is strongly evident in the number and&


OUR AWARDS

Over the past few years V Swans have shown best practise programming by being receiving the following Industry awards:

Finalist 2015 AIM WA Pinnacle Business Awards - Corporate Social Responsibility For excellence through key initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to excellence in corporate social responsibility.

Finalist 2013 – AIM WA Pinnacle Business Awards – Aboriginal Leadership Development Excellence Award – in the categories of Introduction of initiatives to support Aboriginal leadership development with youth in the community and community based Aboriginal leadership programs that build capacity and promote diversity & Leadership and Development interventions to encourage Aboriginal leadership development inside our organisation.

Winner WA AFL Masters Community Club of the Year 2013 & 2014 - For the Newman Celebrity Football Event and local fundraising opportunities – Managed by V Swans in partnership with the Newman Vets and Key Community Stakeholders

2014 Special Commendation – Department Sport & Recreation – Commitment to Participation - For the V Swans New Horizons Program – This program delivers education and community participation integration programs for the WA Department of Corrections – Perth and Roebourne Facilities

2012 Winner School First Program – Impact Award - Parnngurr Community School (Cotton Creek – Great Sandy Desert)

Winner 2011 Department of Sport and Recreation Awards - Ministers Award for Industry Excellence
Winner 2011 Department of sport and Recreation Awards – Provision of Sport and Recreation to Regional WA award Shooting Goals Program
Finalist 2011 Department Sport and Recreation Awards – Commitment to Participation Award - Onslow Active Program
Finalist 2011 Department Sport and Recreation Awards – Community Event Award - Sporting and Community event Karratha
Winner 2010 ACHPER (Australian council for health, Physical Education and Recreation) Award - Commitment to Physical Education and activity (High School level)


OUR CAPACITY TO DELIVER

No FIFO delivery for V Swans

Due to staff working in similar fields among different towns in the Pilbara Region, our staff members collaborate with each other to increase the scope and impact that each project can provide. This enables the entire region to have consistent delivery in towns and multiple specialists through the one organisation at their disposal. (18 staff based in the Pilbara). 

Scope of Programs Delivered

A diverse range of education, engagement and development programs are delivered through our ‘Active Education’ Framework. This allows for multiple entry points for Aboriginal Youth and families to connect with the project.  Providing the continuity for them to stay involved as they progress throughout their lives.

Community is Familiar with the Organisation

Due to V Swans operating successfully in the Pilbara for the best part of a decade, our organisation has built strong relationships with the communities in which we deliver. These relationships are extremely valuable to the success of the programs, and are only developed with transparency, trust and time. Also, with a transient youth population in the region, participant awareness of the organisation is able to provide a sense of familiarity and belonging when travelling to other communities within this vast region. This again provides youth and families an avenue to connect with the project when they’re visiting – as V Swans is a trusted provider in the Pilbara.

Capability of our staff (experience and qualifications)

  • The General Manager of V Swans has a Masters in Business and a Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Studies. She is a founding staff member of the V Swans Programs and continues to work side by side with our regional staff. She has lived in the Pilbara for extensive periods of time setting up each regional program.
  • Our Staff have backgrounds in various community, youth and both Primary and Secondary education fields with at least 5 years’ experience in this type of program delivery. They all have current working with children cards and National Police Checks. 
  • Our key Regional Manager are all qualified education specialists with local knowledge of the communities in which we operate.
  • Our Indigenous staff integrated throughout our business including management, marketing, senior administration and trainee level roles.  With many family links with the communities in which we deliver, including programs participants from our programs dating back to 2005.
  • All V Swans staff continue to study as we are committed to the power of education both in our program, our participants and our most important resource our staff.

OUR COMMITMENT TO ABORIGINAL PARTICIPATION

  • All V Swans programs are designed and delivered in consultation with local Indigenous leaders, key regional stakeholders, families and participants. We constantly seek feedback from our local communities and are committed to those regions with full time staff based in these local communities.
  • We have a strong Indigenous based staff with 52% full and part time staff working in our programs at any one time (varies from region to region).
  • We have a Reconciliation Australia sanction Reconciliation Action Plan and have delivered on all components of that plan since its introduction in 2013.
  • Many of the programs in our strategy have been supported with partnerships between Federal Government, Corporate Australia and OUR regional and Aboriginal communities.
  • Our programs have significant Indigenous participation and have had outstanding success and we have a proven track record in increasing school attendance, providing valuable participation pathways, engaging young people and families into community, improving behaviour and supporting crime diversion.
  • We have volunteer community advisory groups in all our major program regions that support and guide our program staff and direction to suit individual community outcomes and the unique environments of each region.
  • We have a significant local network of program stakeholders including education, business, health, government and local community groups that we work with and engage ensuring complete community ownership with our programs.
  • We have worked in each of the communities stated in the projects for at least 5 to 10 years. Our staff live and work within the community and have in some cases working with second generation of families.
  • All projects have at least a 6 to 12 month lead in process of community consultation this includes local Aboriginal leaders, business, education and other community foundations and businesses to ensure collaboration and no duplication. 

* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this publication may contain the names and images of people who have passed away.