When Rob Outridge attended the opening of the new Maleny Athletics shed at the back of the Maleny High School grounds last month, he asked the QA (Queensland Athletics) group if there was any way he could help them, or anything they needed. They said that what they really needed was a mower, and the Maleny IGA forked out the $3000 to buy this much needed piece of machinery for the club. Rather than mowing the grass (which is mostly done by the school, except for holidays), the most important use of the mower is to move heavy equipment from the shed to the field, and back again at the end of the day. For the Maleny Athletics team, their weekly athletics practice requires a range of equipment to be taken out onto the field and set up, including high jump mats, shot put balls, hurdles, javelin and other bits and pieces. This means that the parents and volunteers need to move this equipment and some of it is extremely heavy. With the mower to help them they have everything on trolleys which they attach to the back of it, and it pulls everything out onto the field; saving everyone’s backs, and keeping the equipment at its best. “Before we had the mower we used to have to drag the big mats and other equipment in and out of the shed, which meant a lot of work for the parents, and damages the equipment from dragging it along the ground,” said Maleny Athletics Treasurer, Joanne Titherage.

Joanne’s husband Craig, who is also involved with the club, said they couldn’t have kept the club going without the support of Rob and the Maleny Apex group, who together have assisted them greatly with financial contributions and manual labour in erecting their new shed. “Rob has been particularly supportive of us through the Community Benefit Fund, and we just want to say a big ‘Thanks Rob’ for the brilliant support from the IGA. If it wasn’t for the likes of Rob and the IGA, clubs like this wouldn’t be able to exist.”

According to Aiden, Joanne’s son, another great thing about athletics is that the children don’t compete with each other; they are competing with their own personal best. So it’s a great way for children to build confidence in themselves. The centre currently has 48 athletes ranging from age 5 to 17, who meet at the Maleny High School on Saturday mornings. It costs around $150 for the whole year (which covers insurance and uniform) and is a great way for kids to stay fit and have fun while learning new skills. For more information about joining Maleny Athletics,or to volunteer to help out on Saturdays, check out the website www.malenylittleathletics.com.au or contact Maria Dodd (Centre Manager) 5494 2686, Sally-Ann Stewart (Secretary) 5494 2322, or Joanne on 5494 4278