Women bowling their way to wellbeing and inclusion (media release)

25 October 2019

More than 25 local women gathered on the green at Fawkner Lawn Bowls Club to celebrate the success of the Count Me In Too program, which supports young women and girls from diverse backgrounds to be involved in local sporting clubs and organisations in Fawkner, Glenroy and Hadfield. 

Mayor of Merri-bek Cr Natalie Abboud, Minister for Women The Hon Gabrielle Williams MP and Director of Office for Women in Sport and Recreation Victoria Dr Bridie O’Donnell shared chat and a game of lawn bowls with the group to celebrate the success of the program.

The Count Me In Too project is the recipient of $70,000 funding under the Free From Violence Local Government Grants, with 
Moreland Council delivering the program over 12 months in partnership with Merri Health.

Mayor of Merri-bek, Cr Natalie Abboud said the municipality was proud of its rich diversity, with council dedicated to creating equal, welcoming and safe environments in its community spaces.

“Participation in sporting clubs can be a powerful channel for breaking down social barriers and building strong communities, with huge mental and physical wellbeing benefits,” said Cr Abboud.

Count Me In Too targets gender inequity and family violence by creating a platform for local leadership, embedded gender equity and inclusive practice in community spaces.

The program has been so successful at Fawkner Bowls Club that the first Friday of each month is now a ‘women-only’ day to cater for the strong demand.

Cr Abboud, Minister Williams and Dr O'Donnell heard from program participants about the positive impact the Count Me In Too program is having on their lives. Many of the women have made new friends and connections, are feeling healthier as a result of the physical activity and are trying new sports or returning to sport after long breaks.

Last year Merri-bek Council has reported the substantial rise in female participation in sporting clubs through its ten-year Sportsground Allocation Policy. The Policy saw female sports participation across the municipality increase from 8% in 2008 to 23% in 2018.

Women and sporting clubs interested in getting involved in Count Me in Too can contact Merri-bek Council on 9240 1111.