“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where previously there was only despair.”
When asked why they donate footballs, and not food or medical supplies, Shane Primrose and Adam Harrison proffer this Nelson Mandela quote. For the co-founders of Good Football, it is, essentially, the underlying justification for the way they do business. The very idea that sport can change lives underpins the existence of Good Football, the local social enterprise beginning to kick goals in all the right places.
Good Football was born out of the friendship of Primrose and Harrison, Gold Coast locals with a shared love for the beautiful game. Long-time participants in the local football scene, the two manage the venture out of their base in Burleigh. In their words, Good Football exists to deliver happiness and freedom through the joys of sport. The formula is simple; for every ball purchased from Good Football, one is donated in turn to a deserving community, school, organisation or child.
And despite its relatively short existence, the social enterprise is already making waves with its unique blend of sport and charity.
Good Football has recently allied with Australian sports charity Fair Game as a distribution partner, a move which Primrose says has allowed the social enterprise to make a palpable difference to rural communities across Australia.
“Teaming up with Fair Game makes anything possible for us, because they have access to a huge number of isolated communities,” says Primrose.
“They generally collect used sporting goods to use in their health and fitness education programs, so we were delighted to be able to help out.
“This partnership is an incredible way to maximise the good we can do in the wider community.”
In conjunction with Fair Game, Good Football has already donated over $6000 worth of footballs to remote communities in Western Australia and New South Wales, something which Fair Game spokesperson Nathan Stone believes has had a tangible impact.
“So far, we’ve worked with Good Football to distribute balls to underprivileged kids in the Kimberley and the Pilbara, as well as Claymore and Jarjum in New South Wales,” says Stone.
“These donations really do go a long way towards tackling issues like fitness, mental health and low living standards.
“It also means that we can deliver Christmas presents to some of the less fortunate kids, which really makes a difference.”
For co-founder Primrose, the ability to make a difference to people’s lives has a special resonance. He says the inspiration for Good Football came courtesy of a trip to India in 2006.
“The time I spent working with disabled and underprivileged children in Dayadan changed my life,” says Primrose.
“When the kids walked out of the school gates in the afternoon, they were returning to lives of begging and child prostitution.
“But I realised that even though these children had experienced unspeakable things, if you threw a football at their feet the smiles would come, the laughter would come, and the joy and happiness was suddenly there.
“This escapism is what we’re trying to achieve for children everywhere.”
The Australian footballing community has responded to this sentiment in kind, with players from both grassroots and professional levels throwing their support behind Good Football.
The encouraging response has already seen Good Football partner with local clubs Palm Beach and Burleigh to provide footballs and apparel, with plans in place to collaborate with more teams in the region.
Meanwhile, the company has seen high profile players from both the A-League and W-League purchase products and spread the word across social media platforms, something which Primrose hopes will allow Good Football to attract positive attention and break into new markets.
“The response from W-League players in particular has been amazing, because football is such a growing market among young girls in Australia,” says Primrose.
“We’ve also had some fantastic responses from professional players who have been really generous with their time and are keen to get involved and help out however they can.”
For Good Football, then, the future looks bright. With an ever widening scope of distribution and growing support from both players and punters alike, the social enterprise is seemingly going from strength to strength. For Shane Primrose and Adam Harrison, this means one thing; the opportunity to make as much difference to as many people as possible. The power of sport, for Primrose, continues to drive Good Football’s philanthropy.
“For me, football has always been a means to leave those problems behind. Stepping over the white line meant stepping into 90 minutes of freedom where nothing else would matter. As long as we have footballs at our feet we are free.”
IMAGE (c) Lamp Photography