Greyhound clubs lead the way

Greyhound clubs lead the way

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club has been nominated for a Community Clubs Victoria Award. 249737 Picture: SUPPLIED

Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and two of its member clubs are finalists in the annual 2019-2020 Community Clubs Victoria awards which recognise community contribution.

GRV, Sale and Sandown Greyhound Clubs have been selected to contest the finals.

Community Clubs Victoria is an industry association representing Victorian not-for-profit community clubs which range in size from small, volunteer-based sporting clubs to multi-million-dollar organisations.

Greyhound Racing Victoria was selected under the Best Social Inclusion Club for its events built around – The Great Chase and Red Dog/Blue Dog.

Under the program GRV donates $250 to designated charities every time a greyhound wins a race from the red or blue box.

First run in 2003, the TAB Great Chase community program has gone from strength to strength and continues to support many organisations within the disability sector throughout country and metropolitan Victoria.

The tragic bushfires of 2019/20 affected many communities that are home to greyhound clubs and trainers. The total number of red dog winners across the two-month period was 382, raising $95,500, with the GRV Board rounding up the total to $100,000.

After the tragic accident that claimed the lives of four police officers in Victoria, GRV decided to donate $250 to the Police Legacy Remembrance Fund every time a greyhound won a race from box four (blue) at The Meadows and Sandown during the May.

GRV donated $6,000 to the Police Legacy Remembrance Fund which has been specifically created for the families of the four fallen police officers.

The Club Manager of the Year finalist nomination went to Peter Johnston of Sale Greyhound Racing Club.

Following the devastating East Gippsland bushfires that swept through the region Peter made the community’s welfare his priority and opened the SDGRC’s kennels as a refuge for local domestic animals, even though it meant cancelling club functions and race meetings.

He then dedicated the Australia Day weekend as a tribute to the Sale Country Fire Authority and led the local greyhound community in raising $40,000 which was made up from a gold coin donation as well as raffles and a sporting memorabilia auction.

From March 2020 Peter managed the impact of COVID on the SDGRC while continuing to support the local community.

He re-organised the club’s operations to keep racing to provide an income for greyhound participants and staff and arranged for a mental health coach to offer weekly sessions for his team and invited them to come to work “just to be with friends.”

Peter also recognised that he could keep his team working while serving the community by providing a takeaway food service.

The club prepared more than 1000 meals a week, many delivered to Sale residents struggling to cope with understocked and overcrowded supermarkets.

Sandown Greyhounds TAB Melbourne Cup 2019 has been nominated for the Best Club Community Involvement.

This award is made to a club who can demonstrate a contribution to the community through liaising with local councils or community groups to provide programs and organise fundraisers and charity lunches.

The Sandown Greyhound Racing Club puts a great deal of effort to ensure this night is successful and aligns with its strategic plan. In this instance it worked to achieve a showcase event to attract and entertain its entire demographic of dining guests and public patrons.

For last year’s event, the club broadened its scope of community engagement with an Asian food festival to attract the local Asian community and communicated its activities in the local Vietnamese Times Newspaper.

Community Clubs Victoria plans to announce the winners on Saturday, 2 October.

This article was published in the Pakenham Berwick Gazette on 7th September 2021.

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