Sports aware program focuses on drugs and alcohol

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Following the overwhelming success of the pilot last year, Youth Solutions and West Group Macarthur are continuing their partnership for the Sports Aware program again in 2024.

The health promotion project focuses on engaging with young sportspeople and their supporters to provide drug, alcohol and wellbeing education, and foster positive connections to support.

Last year, the Sports Aware pilot garnered notable results, with youth participant evaluations showing 98 percent learned about the effects and risks of drugs and alcohol, 99 percent learned ways to keep themselves and others safe around drugs and alcohol and 100 percent learned about accessing help and support services.

The 2024 iteration is already under way, engaging with local sporting clubs to build skills, knowledge, and connections to prevent drug and alcohol harm and promote healthy behaviour.

Sporting clubs in the Macarthur and Wingecarribee regions are now being encouraged to apply to snap up a spot for this year’s program delivery.

Thanks to the partnership and support with Wests Group Macarthur, Sports Aware is delivered free of charge.

The project focuses on drug and alcohol education, safety and well-being, help-seeking and positive role models.

It’s delivered via a tailored educational workshop series for young sportspeople aged 12-17 years, information sessions for supporters and interactive outreach activities on game days or training sessions.

Youth Solutions CEO Geraldine Dean thanked Wests Group Macarthur for its ongoing support and partnership. Mrs Dean noted Wests had doubled its financial commitment to Sports Aware in 2024 to ensure the project would have a positive impact on more young people in the community.

“We can’t thank Wests Group Macarthur enough for sharing our passion and providing such tangible support so we can deliver positive outcomes for our young people,” Mrs Dean said.

“Wests Group Macarthur’s support helped us to develop the Sports Aware project and we are so grateful they continue to support this project.’’

Wests Group Macarthur chief executive officer Daniel Perkiss said Sports Aware aligned with the organisation’s high regard of and concern for its local community.

“We are always looking for ways to support young people in our community, particularly around the issues of mental health, healthy lifestyles, drug harm prevention and youth sport,’’ he said.

“These are the very focus areas of the Sports Aware program, so naturally that hit a chord with Wests Group Macarthur,” Mr Perkiss said.

“Sport is in the DNA of Wests Group Macarthur, and it is a privilege to support a project that prioritises the health and wellbeing of local sportspeople.”

For more information about the Sports AWARE program, visit or contact the program team on 4628 2319 or

Pictured above is Youth Solutions staff member Emily Deans overseeing a Sports Aware outreach activity.

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