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Just Play instructor course kicks off in Auckland

The three-day intensive training will take place at the Charles J. Dempsey Academy in Penrose and aims to equip the participants with tools they need to expand the initiative even further, following a successful pilot phase.

Through funding support from the Australian Government, the course will benefit 16 participants representing seven island nations including Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. All of the instructors are highly trained and linked with the technical departments of the respective member associations.

OFC head of social responsibility Franck Castillo, who leads the Just Play project, says the course provides an opportunity to develop vital skills for the instructors who will be the key to implementing a successful programme.

“These instructors will be accredited to deliver the Just Play initiative, developing skills to train teachers, coaches and volunteers so that even more youngsters can be reached through this football-for-development programme,” says Castillo.

“The key targets of Just Play include education and gender equality which are taught through practical sessions and fun festivals.”

OFC staff offering their expertise during the course include Just Play consultant Vania Kenning and women’s development officer Emmie Sope, plus Patrick Jacquemet, Colin Tuaa and Didier Chambaron from the technical department.

“We are very fortunate to have a talented and dedicated group of trainers from the OFC technical department who have designed the three-day course.”

Just Play is a unique grassroots programme which promotes physical activity for primary-aged children while encouraging community involvement and healthy living.

Developed by the OFC social responsibility and technical departments, Just Play was launched in Vanuatu in April and has since been introduced in Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, Solomon Islands and South Auckland in New Zealand.

Next on the agenda are Fiji and Cook Islands while OFC is also currently working in New Zealand with Special Olympics (NZ) on a Just Play programme for people with mental disabilities.

OFC is working closely with the Government of Australia – through its agencies the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – and Football Federation Australia (FFA) to roll out the programme across the Pacific. The Australian Government has shown its support to the project by contributing AU$4million.

In South Auckland, Just Play is supported by OFC’s partnership with the Sir John Walker Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation, Counties Manukau Sport and Auckland Football Federation.

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