Social impact report shows combining sport with education helps empower communities

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The not-for-profit arm of South Australia’s Port Adelaide Football Club has released the results of its 2023 Social Impact Report, outlining the impact and reach of programs aimed at supporting SA students.

Power Community Limited (PCL) offers seven education programs that use the power of elite Australian Rules Football to promote meaningful social change. Programs delivered by PCL work to empower communities in need, with a focus on addressing societal issues aligned to health, well-being, and resilience, including:

  • gender equality and respectful relationships
  • cultural awareness and reconciliation
  • youth education pathways and retention
  • employment transitions.

In 2023, underpinned by the support of its strategic partners and what PCL describes as “an unwavering focus on ensuring the programs provided a sense of belonging and connection”, the charity engaged with more than 20,000 people across metro, regional and remote South Australia, including in the classrooms of more than 260 schools, where they facilitated 315 educational workshops. In addition to its work with students across the state, PCL’s programs also support Australian Defence Force (ADF) veterans.

An additional 20,000 people were reached through activations including NAIDOC Week, multicultural festivals, and defence community events. Students from the APY Lands participating in the SANTOS Aboriginal Power Cup also attended the carnival held in Adelaide – a first in the program’s 16-year history. Some students also attended the Yartapuulti Football Club game during the Sir Doug Nicholls Round, to participate in an on-field cultural performance.

- Advertisement -

Community connections link sport and learning

The Community Youth Program continues to be the longest running community program in the AFL. Of the students who took part in the Power to End Violence Against Women program, 95 per cent said the experience had left them with a better understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationships, while 94 per cent of students who took part in the Multicultural Power Cup said they increased their understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity within their school community.

General Manager of Power Community Limited, Jake Battifuoco, says he is incredibly proud of the results outlined in the Social Impact Report – “and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our program partners”.

“All programs have experienced significant growth in 2023, and it’s a credit to our passionate team for driving outcomes in the community,” Mr Battifuoco says. “This year, our industry-leading SANTOS Aboriginal Power Cup delivered in partnership with South Australian Aboriginal Secondary Training Academy (SAASTA), will see the largest number of First Nations students enrolled since inception in 2008.”

Creating safer futures for women

PCL’s Empowered program, launched in 2020, is delivered to Year 10 female students statewide. It aims to provide young women with the tools they need to understand healthy relationships and foster a well-developed sense of self.

- Advertisement -

“We are entering an exciting period as we commence a three-year strategy aligned to building a stronger, inclusive, and more equitable community with outcomes areas underpinned by education, learning and leadership,” he says.

“With this comes exciting expansion plans that will increase the accessibility of our programs to more students across the country.”

Grassroots education kicks goals

Mr Battifuoco says both the Power to End Violence Against Women and Empowered programs – delivered in partnership with Centacare and the Government of South Australia – continue to remain a core focus. He added that “educating at a grassroots level is critical to combat the ongoing issues society is experiencing in this space”.

“We’re extremely proud of the genuine and tangible pathways our programs create for participants. Six students from our Fist Nations programs are now working in the PCL team, while three ADF Veterans are volunteering in the football department.”

Mr Battifuoco says it’s important for students to see real-life examples of potential pathways that can flow from the programs they’re part of.

- Advertisement -

“Ultimately, our goal is to change the lives of young people and ADF veterans from all backgrounds, to empower them to achieve their potential and create equal opportunities for all.”

Share This Article
Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]