Culturally-diverse communities will be empowered to participate in local sport and recreation thanks to new funding from the Andrews Labor Government.

Acting Minister for Multicultural Affairs, James Merlino, has announced 12 Victorian sporting bodies will share in $4 million in grants to develop community projects and get more Victorians on local playing fields.

The projects will encourage people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to get involved with their local sports clubs, be active and have a go.

Local Dandenong project ‘The Black Rhinos Crime Prevention Through Basketball’, run by Basketball Victoria, will receive $220,000 in funding over four years. Basketball Victoria will work closely and in partnership with Afri-Aus Care Inc (AAC) to improve the mental health outcomes of at-risk migrant youth and their families by utilising participation in basketball as a crime preventative measure and primary mental health intervention.

AFL Victoria, Netball Victoria, Cricket Australia and Football Federation Victoria were some of the other organisations that will receive up to $600,000 to improve participation in community sport.

Other sports to benefit from funding include tennis, rugby league, rugby union, softball, surfing, basketball, paralympic sports, and athletics.

The grants program assessed an organisation’s community engagement strategies, including connections with young people, women and those from a refugee or migrant background, as well as the sustainability of their programs.

Sporting organisations will contribute their own resources and partner with networks at the grassroots level to reach new communities and increase participation.

For more information about the Multicultural Sports Fund and the 12 funded projects, visit multicultural.vic.gov.au.