Change Makers: Melbourne's West

The Change Makers: Melbourne’s West Project is the first of its kind, and an important collaboration between Victoria University, Brimbank City Council, Welcoming Australia, Volunteer West, and local sporting organisations in Melbourne’s west.

The aim is simple: to empower sports clubs and organisations to create more inclusive sporting spaces for migrants and refugees in Melbourne’s west.

To get there we have put together a top team of passionate researchers and educators from the Sport and Social Change Living Lab at Victoria University who have designed a sport-specific inclusion and diversity program focused on making change in sports clubs.

We are generously supported by the Federal Government Department of Health’s Driving Social Inclusion through Sport and Physical Activity Research Grant which means the program is free for all participants. 

Our program involves:

Cohort 1: June, 2021

Cohort 2: June, 2021

Cohort 3: September, 2021

Cohort 4: February, 2022

To find out more about our program please submit the form below

Georgia Denisenko

About Me

In 2018, I took on a new role as Girls’ Program Manager at Glen Eira FC, after realising the Club wasn’t offering its girls anything close to the same opportunities as the boys in the Club. With 2 daughters and 2 sons who played for Glen Eira FC, and were having very different experiences, this wasn’t acceptable to me!  Working alongside the inaugural Girls’ Technical Director, John Sugunananthan (a visionary coach and leader in girls and women’s football), we introduced a host of new programs (most of them free), established a leadership team, gathered sponsors, and created an elite pathway for girls in the Club, to match the elite boys’ pathway that had existed for nearly 10 years.

A year later our girls’ participation rate had increased by 40%, our social media was saturated with our new girls’ program, and we were off and away!  Despite the enormous progress we have made, we still have a very long way to go in many areas before reaching the target of 50/50 –  for example our Club’s Committee is severely lacking in its representation of girls and women.

Whilst I am a lawyer by background, I am passionate about advancing girls and women in football, and I was a lucky participant in FV’s inaugural Female Administrator Leadership Program in 2019.  I was also grateful to receive a Change Our Game Scholarship from the Victorian Government, which will allow me to further my study in community sports management and leadership.

I have hopeful leadership aspirations for the future, and would especially like to see Club governance reformed and overhauled, to ensure equality in participation and experience in Clubs. I am thrilled that Australia is co-hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023. What a time to be an Australian woman involved in the beautiful game!  I doubt there will be a better opportunity to advance women and girls in football in Australia, and to reach the target of 50/50 participation.  We have much to do on many fronts, but this is our time  – oh the places we will go!