Essendon’s Deadly Initiative to Empower Tiwi Communities

The Essendon Football Club has instigated a community health initiative that will see Deadly Choices, the preventative health arm of Australia’s Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) implement a range of programs to bring about positive change across Northern Territory communities of the Tiwi Islands.

Tapping into the well-established relationship the Victorian AFL club has with its namesake, the Tiwi Bombers, provides the perfect vehicle to bring about desired change by motivating and empowering community members towards taking control of their own health.

“IUIH will directly subcontract Essendon Football Club to employ one (1) Deadly Choices Program Officer who will be based full-time on the Tiwi Islands,” confirmed IUIH CEO Adrian Carson.

“This Program Officer will be trained and supported by our Deadly Choices staff, along with current players and support staff of Tiwi Bombers, to deliver the suite of Deadly Choices programs, activities and events in schools and across all communities.

“Pivotal to this will be an overriding emphasis on ensuring all community members are made aware of the dangers of tobacco use, while also providing health support services for those Tiwi Islanders wanting to give up the smokes.

“The solutions that Deadly Choices are coming up with to improve health outcomes in our communities are actually solutions that benefit the whole country, so we are extremely excited about the partnership, as a fitting 10-year celebration of our commitment to all communities.”

Valued support of NT Health, through the Top End Health Service will also make available a limited edition, Essendon Bombers Deadly Choices shirt, for community members who complete a health check.

Across the last decade this unique Deadly Choices incentive has seen health checks increase in South East Queensland by 4,583 percent, from 500 individuals to 23,419 community members.

“Working collaboratively with an organisation such as IUIH through the Deadly Choices brand is exciting,” said Essendon Football Club CEO Xavier Campbell.

“This partnership will extend the Essendon Football Club’s work in the community beyond football into broader health related areas that can have genuine impact and long term benefits for Tiwi Islanders.”

General Manager of The Long Walk and Indigenous Affairs - Essendon Football Club, Leanne Brooke has absolute confidence in what can be achieved through this relationship.

“We are excited to be partnering with IUIH on the delivery of Deadly Choices initiatives on Tiwi,” said Brooke.

“It’s about making a genuine difference and IUIH through Deadly Choices has a proven track record across the Country. The Long Walk is about improving the health and wellbeing of our people and working together with IUIH and the Tiwi community, we are going to do just that.”

Similarly, the Tiwi Bombers are keen to play a leading hand, and in doing so enhance the leadership capacity of all its players.

“Young Tiwi children aspire to play for the Tiwi Bombers, so the opportunity to extend this influence with our players becoming role models in the community, and supporting the Deadly Choices programs through this new partnership is fantastic,” said Tiwi Bombers Football Club President, Manuel Brown.

“We can’t wait to work closer with our friends at Essendon and the Deadly Choices team to have a real impact across all the Tiwi communities.”