Affleck appointed to Family of League board

Published 10:00am 1 September 2023

Affleck appointed to Family of League board
Words by Jodie Powell

The founder of the Moreton Committee of rugby league charity Family of League has been appointed to the foundation's board.

The charity’s volunteers work to ensure those most in need in the rugby league community can access financial, social and emotional support.

Peter Affleck, who founded the Moreton Committee of Family of League in 2018, says it’s an honour to be appointed a non-executive director.

“It’s a nice achievement – it’s a wonderful cause and purpose,” he says.

|“The game’s been good to me and now I’m giving back.”|

His work with Family of League (formerly Men of League) began when he attended the State luncheon in 2016.

“You could see the purpose and need across the room – there were about 800 people – and I joined the Brisbane Committee not long after that.”

Peter rose through the rugby league ranks after being selected in South West Queensland’s 1978 representative team from outback Quilpie.

He spent the late ’70s and early ’80s playing for the Fortitude Valley Diehards Club in the Brisbane Rugby League pre-Broncos era before coaching Beenleigh to a grand final in the strong Gold Coast competition in 1988.

Grassroots approach

Peter’s looking forward to helping set the strategic direction of the foundation and says his role within the Moreton Committee will be particularly helpful.

“It’s something that’s just wonderful to be able to do.

“Being the president from the Moreton Committee, I have been across the association and have relationships with fellow presidents.

“Coming from a grassroots approach, I see first-hand and understand the need from that role.”

Helping families

He says the foundation has evolved since its inception as Men of League in 2002, growing to more than 5000 members and volunteers, with 39 dedicated volunteer committees across New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.

“(Changing from Men of League to) Family of League was such an important change, in my view,” Peter says.

“In 2002 it was dead-set seen as supporting the older generation of men, but it’s always been helping anybody across the rugby league community who fell on hard times.

“Over 70 percent of recipients are now women, kids and families and only three percent of the people we support have played NRL at a national level - but plenty more have played at a different level.”

Unique charity

He says part of the foundation’s success is the diversity of support Family of League delivers, from surgery, rehabilitation, equipment and specialist care to wellbeing visits to homes and hospitals to address social isolation and promote mental health.

“It’s a unique charity in the sporting world, supporting all levels – the lady who runs the canteen, the referees. Seeing who we support across multiple fronts and knowing we support makes such a difference.”

When he joined the Brisbane Committee in 2017, it quickly became apparent that the Moreton Bay region needed its own voice at the Family of League table.

“The first event I went to was a luncheon at the Broncos and the people weren’t all from the inner suburbs – a lot were from the northern suburbs.

“The north Brisbane region and beyond was crying out (for support).

“One of the guys that was on that committee, Bob Knight and then Ian Gatenby, we said ‘we need to investigate this and see what we can do’.

“We cover Bribie to Samford and have previously held lunches at the Pine Rivers Bowls Club and we’re looking at the Caboolture Sports club at Morayfield because people can’t always get down to Redcliffe.

From strength to strength

The Moreton Committee, with support from Bob Jones, Terry Webb and Wally Fullerton Smith at the Redcliffe Dolphins, formed in January 2018 and held its first event – a golf day – a month later.

Peter says that only served to reinforce the need for a dedicated presence in the region.

“We had 44 golf players and that event is now sold out a year in advance.

“It’s the number one attended and number one for profit for golf events (held by Family of League) across Australia.

|“You only get that result through substantial corporate support and commitment to the event.|

“We had 16 holes sponsored this year and a day sponsor – Shaw and Partners – who’ve been with us for five years.”

Volunteering award

In addition to his appointment to the Family of League board, Peter’s dedication to helping the rugby league community was recognised earlier this year when he received the 2023 Queensland Steve Calder Volunteer of the Year award.

|“It’s certainly a prestigious award, and gratifying personally, but what means more to me is who we are as a team – I’m only one representative of that wonderful committee.”|

Peter says he’s proud of what the Moreton Committee has achieved since its inception.

“The diversity and the range of people who we support, from your basic social coffee catch-ups all the way through to major surgery.

“I mention coffee-catch-ups because a lot of them are with people who really need that social aspect – they don’t need financial support, they need social connection,” he explains.

“We have one young person who we helped get a corneal transplant and a young man who was diagnosed with leukemia at 15 and then a spinal tumor.

“That affected his life and his family’s lives – his parents stopped work for 12 months to care for him.

“Now we have been able to get him financial support for spinal surgery for a stimulator to help manage his ongoing pain – it’s such a compelling story.”

For more information about Family of League – or to seek support click here.

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