The Sons of the West turn 10

Bulldogs players Bailey Dale and Buku Khamis at the SOTW 10th anniversary launch. (Provided)

The Western Bulldogs Community Foundation has celebrated 10 years of its leading Sons of the West (SOTW) health and wellbeing program and its now taking registrations for this year.

SOTW is a free 10-week program facilitated by the foundation in partnership with local councils and community health services across Victoria.

The program is aimed at men aged 18 and above, and strives to empower men to make their health and wellbeing a priority by giving them the tools and knowledge.

To celebrate the decade long milestone, Western Bulldogs Community Foundation hosted a celebration on Wednesday, February 7, at at Whitten Oval.

The day was filled with questions and commentary from AFL players, activities throughout the day which included participants and players talking and exercising in the gym.

Since its inception, over 5000 men have been inspired and educated, with the program delivered across 27 suburbs in the West including Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay.

Bulldogs chief executive Ameet Bains said program has significant benefits for physical health, mental health and a real sense of connection and belonging to those who participate.

“In 2014, alarming stats revealed that men in the west of Melbourne had some of the poorest levels of health across Victoria. This footy club prides itself on being representative of its community, and so through the Community Foundation, it established Sons of the West.”

Brett Patriekos said participating in SOTW was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“I really enjoyed the program – what it taught us around being men in today’s society and the role that we play was a key take away,” he said.

“The exercise routines were great … and just the comradery, and learning more about community really made it a great program”

Bulldogs player Buku Khamis said being involved in the program has in turn had a positive impact on his footy.

“I’ve learnt how important it is to open up about your mental health – we all suffer at times, especially as men. Overall, it’s a great way to interact as well.”