Coles and Essendon take a little long walk in Darwin

Coles has teamed up with the Essendon Football Club to take a Little Long Walk with AFL legend Michael Long and more than 50 kids from Darwin’s Jingili Primary School ahead of this weekend’s AFL Indigenous Sir Doug Nicholl’s Round.

Long was joined by Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris, AFLW prospect Freda Puruntatameri from the EFC Tiwi Pathway Program, Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling – who was one of the original walkers with Long in 2004 – and Coles NT team members for The Little Long Walk ahead of the inaugural Dreamtime in Darwin AFL match between Essendon and Richmond this Saturday.

Michael, Nova and Freda shared their culture and experiences in sport, education and reconciliation before taking a Little Long Walk and having a kick of the footy with the excited students.

The event was topped off with a Zoom cooking class with Coles Ambassador and MasterChef 2020 contestant Courtney Roulston using produce sourced from the school’s Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program.  Coles was delighted to announce it would donate a dishwasher to the school to make life easier for the teachers and students who enjoy the much-loved program.

Michael Long, whose walk from Melbourne to Canberra in 2004 inspired the movement, said he was proud to see The Little Long Walk make its way to Darwin.

“The Little Long Walk is an important event to promote understanding and reconciliation among our future generation.  To be able to do The Little Long Walk with kids from Jingili so close to where I grew up has made this year’s event even more special,” he said.

Coles Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson said Coles was excited to be a part of The Little Long Walk and Virtual Long Walk.

“As one of Australia’s largest employers of Indigenous Australians, Coles is extremely passionate and proud of our work with Indigenous communities. Through our partnership with Essendon Football Club we’re delighted to be able to show our solidarity with Michael and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through The Little Long Walk and Virtual Long Walk,” Lisa said.

The Little Long Walk is an event created for kids as part of The Long Walk which will be held as an online event this year between August 18 and 22.  Australians can take part in the Virtual Long Walk by sharing an image or video on social  media of their own Long Walk in their neighbourhood (compliant with relevant state or territory’s social distancing and COVID-19 rules) or simply posting a message of support and solidarity using the hashtags #thevirtuallongwalk and #wewalktogether.

Coles is the proud partner of The Long Walk and the Essendon Football Club including its Tiwi Women’s Pathway Program and VFLW Team and is recognised as the largest corporate employer of Indigenous Australians with a workforce of more than 4,800 Indigenous team members.