Bishop Druitt College Joins Forces with NSW Rugby Union to Champion Community Wellbeing in Coffs Harbour

Monday, 24 June 2024

Bishop Druitt College (BDC) has announced a groundbreaking partnership with NSW Rugby Union, aimed at fostering community health and wellbeing through a series of impactful programs under the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation’s "Rugby For Good" initiative. This collaboration will establish Bishop Druitt College as the central hub for these programs, servicing all of Northern NSW.

The NSW Positive Rugby Foundation, renowned for its dedication to using rugby as a vehicle for social change, will deploy a range of programs to address various social needs within the community. These programs include the Get Talkin' Mental Health initiative, Rugby In The Park for the homeless and socially disconnected, and Kickstart, which supports youth in detention and those undergoing drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Nick Johnstone, Principal of Bishop Druitt College, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “We are thrilled to collaborate with NSW Rugby Union. This partnership not only enhances the opportunities available to our students but also extends crucial support to the wider community. We are committed to providing a platform where sport and education work hand in hand to promote holistic wellbeing.”

Joey de Dassel, NSW Rugby Mental Health & Wellbeing Manager, emphasised the importance of mental health programs like Get Talkin'. “Mental health is a critical issue, especially among young people. Our Get Talkin' program aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health discussions and provide essential support and resources. Partnering with Bishop Druitt College allows us to reach more individuals and make a tangible difference in their lives,” de Dassel said.

Peter Murphy, Head of the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation, highlighted the broader community impact. “Our Rugby For Good programs are designed to address pressing social issues through the power of sport. By using Bishop Druitt College as a hub, we can extend our reach to Northern NSW, offering programs that promote inclusion, resilience, and positive change. This partnership is a testament to the potential of community-driven initiatives,” Murphy remarked.

The Coffs Harbour community stands to benefit significantly from this collaboration. With Bishop Druitt College serving as a base for NSW Rugby Union staff who will run events and programs throughout schools and clubs in the community. These initiatives are expected to foster a stronger sense of community, provide support to those in need, and inspire positive lifestyle changes.

Recently, facilitators from NSW Rugby Union attended Bishop Druitt College where they delivered the powerful safeTALK Suicide Prevention workshop to Year 11 students at the school. Programs like Rugby In The Park will offer the homeless and socially disconnected individuals a sense of belonging and purpose, while Kickstart will help vulnerable youth find new paths and opportunities through structured support and mentorship.

In addition to the benefits of these social impact programs, the opportunities to both BDC students and the community are set to soar with new rugby development opportunities set to be on offer with the increased presence of NSWRU staff in the area. Access to highly trained coaches and quality programs is something that has previously been unavailable for regional athletes.

This partnership between Bishop Druitt College and NSW Rugby Union is set to make a profound impact, demonstrating the power of collaboration in driving social change and community wellbeing.

Joey de Dassel and Nick Johnstone

Back L-R: Donna Norton, Craig Landrigan, Simon Doyle, Jason Allwood, Joey de Dassel, Shane Joyce, Jeff Watt, Josh Michell.

Front L-R: Steph Lennon, Priya McDonald, Lakeisha Hull.