Story

OUR STORY

Our evidence-based programs, help children with additional needs explore, develop, learn, build relationships and have loads of fun. We offer a nurturing environment supported by health professionals and a pathway for families to experience feelings of security, acceptance and understanding. Next Step’s inclusive learning approach aims to narrow the divide between children’s access to mainstream and special needs sports classes. Our approach has proven results and strong family and community support. Our program is free at entry and we made this decision as a charity to encourage parents that may not be able to visualise their child playing sport to participate and experience the benefits.

0 %
of Australianchildren are bornwith a disability
0 %
of Australian childrenin poverty live in singleparent households

HISTORY

The Next Step program evolved from the innovative Soccajoeys soccer skills program that caters to children aged 2.5 to 11 years. As a response to ongoing success, and increased demand from families, the idea to expand the Next Step program to cater to the disability sector emerged. Creating the Next Step Foundation in 2011 our first engagement outside our mainstream operation was with the disability sector where it has continued to thrive. The mainstream Soccajoeys program’s structure, curriculum and organisation created an optimum environment for children with additional needs, to develop a range of valuable skills. The Next Step program that evolved is now a highly supportive developmental program for children with special needs. 

The Foundation formalised its governance structure during 2013 registering the Soccajoeys Next Step Foundation as a non-profit foundation with charitable tax status to enable us to raise the funds to operate the program free of cost to families. In 2019 responding to the success of our Next Step inclusive program Soccajoeys Next Step Foundation has rebranded as the Next Step Foundation. The Soccajeys Group remains one of the Foundations principle sponsors and we continue to support All children to live their best lives through sport. Over 7 years the Foundation has gained traction and recognition, securing grants and awards and forming strong partnerships with health and social care service providers and universities including;

We have continued to explore and experiment with a diverse range of learning and development strategies to ensure that every child that attends the program is given the absolute best chance of progressing and enhancing their emerging skills. We have successfully transitioned 37% of our children to mainstream program, having also supported 23 children register in their local grassroots soccer club. The foundation has delivered it’s programs to 330 children since it’s inception. In recent years we have also expanded our services into schools. Partnering with local primary schools to provide our program to special needs students that have already transitioned to school. The School Hub program promotes inclusive practices and increases social engagement for children feeling disengaged.

NEXT STEP MILESTONES

From 2011 to date

2011
2011

Program Created

Next Step Program created in January 2011 to provide soccer skills for children with additional needs

2013
2013

Foundation

Soccajoeys FoundationEstablished to fund theNext Step Program

Won the St George Start Something Local Community Grant and was endorsed byWaverley Council, Macquarie University and SydneyUniversity

2015
2015

Partnerships

Partnered with Zeus Greek Street Food and raised funds and support through local community fundraising events.

2016
2016

Pilot Programs

Pilot schools 'Connect Program' in partnership with Lifestart, Breakthru, Bankstown Council and Banksia Rd Public School Greenacre. Delivered a 10 week program to primary school aged children who were identified as disadvantaged

2016/2017
2016/2017

Community

The Foundation participatedin the CITY2SURF andgenerated much needed funding through generous sponsorship from oursupporters

2016/2017
2016/2017

Expansion

Expanded program to Adelaide in October 2016 andcontinued to run classes untilDecember 2017. Next Step relaunched in Adelaide Term 1, 2019 with support from UCF, Tea Tree Gully Council and Mazda Foundation

2018
2018

Leadership

April 2018 Appointed new Board Directors Emma Genua, Simon Gooch, Eddie Giraldo to provide expertise and mission leadership

2018
2018

Leadership

June 2018 Diane Lawson appointed as Executive Officer

3rd Term 2018 commenced new Schools Hub Putney, Gladesville Primary School, 2018 North West Sydney Women’s Football Association and then term 2 2019

2018
2018

Support

Late 2018 Secured several grants and foundation support to grow our programs acrossAustralia

• Mazda Foundation
• Tea Tree Gully Council Community Grant
• Inner West Council Sports
• North Ryde Community Sports Grant
• Universal Charitable Fund (UCF) Grant
• Waverly Council Community Grant

2019
2019

Growth

Term 1, 2019 Next Step relaunched in Adelaide with support from UCF, Tea Tree Gully Council and Mazda Foundation

Term 2, 2019 Schools Hub recommences for second year at Putney Primary School

2019
2019

Rebranding

July 2019 Launched new name, branding and website - Next Step Foundation