Over the past seven years, Nat Nolan has been on a journey across the Leisure Networks organisation having worked in support coordination and direct support on her way to her current role of Project Coordinator, Sport, Recreation & Health.
Her work in the regional sports program contributes to our partnership with Vic Health, supporting involvement in sport for everyone within local communities. Particularly people who face barriers to participation including LGBTIQ+ community, people with disability, people from different cultural backgrounds and those facing locational disadvantage. Through her work, Nat supports a variety of special initiatives, and is especially proud of her current work on the Youth leading Culture in the North project under the Future Healthy initiative, which is all around amplifying the voice of young people.
“It’s really, really exciting for us,” says Nat, “because we’re really learning and that’s a big part of our culture at Leisure Networks where we’re given permission to really learn and develop. Listening to young people has been a real learning process for us.”
The team came across some robust and interesting data from the Karenni and Sudanese community who are experiencing barriers to participation in sporting communities due to lack of culturally appropriate food. It’s not an issue we normally think of as affecting inclusion, but for many cultures seeing their own food and culture represented is vital.
Part of the process has been getting new partners on board, such as YACVic and Centre for Multicultural Youth. This has added new meaning and purpose to our work at Leisure Networks, promoting the great contribution that the team are making to giving young people a voice.
“Our team is complimented by some incredible people that I am privileged to work with. It was a real team effort and I guess I’d like to think that I had a bit of the momentum in getting that going,” explains Nat. “That’s something that I’m really proud of. More so, I am really proud that it was a really big collective effort. And that our community partners were able to acknowledge the important work that we do and to be able to back us, and put letters of support together.”
Nat is proud of the gratitude that the team get from connecting people to their community and the feedback we get from partners. She believes that this is part of what gives us permission to grow and allows all of us to thrive in our work.
“Libby likes to particularly create a culture that enables – to get the best out of people,” says Nat. “We have a great balance and an environment where a person can really thrive in their role. We’re given permission to do that because we’re allowed to be quite creative.
“Right from the first time that I began with Leisure Networks, Leisure Networks has always been, over those seven years, an employer of choice. Leisure Networks is just so welcoming. It’s an opportunity for me to have that gratitude and privilege in working here because I’m given permission to grow and learn. That’s something that’s very inspiring.”