Chappell takes new Foundation to streets

Former national captain and a host of notable Australians tackling Australia's growing problem of homelessness

Greg Chappell is a man of many hats and the Test legend has added another to his collection with the recent formation of The Chappell Foundation, a charity aimed at assisting Australia's growing homeless population.

With the full support of his brothers Ian and Trevor, Chappell has registered the Foundation and has put together an impressive line-up of notable Australians as patrons, as well as a Board with an obvious cricket flavour, including redoubtable journalists Malcolm Knox and Tracey Holmes along with former LBW Trust chairman and co-founder and Sydney Thunder Advisory Board member Darshak Mehta as chairman.

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The Foundation had been created with the intention of raising funds to provide support for those organisations already tackling the societal problem in this country.

"Those groups at the coalface are already doing good work in the area," says Chappell, who is the national talent manager with Cricket Australia as well as a recent addition to the national selection panel.

"They just need more support."

Chappell is no stranger to philanthropy; the former national captain was part of the Children's Hospital Foundation in Brisbane in the 1980s, which involved fundraising to rebuild the city's hospital, before he channeled his energies to work with the Leukemia Foundations in Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, the last of which he helped set up.

More recently, he's focused his attentions on cricket-playing countries offshore as an ambassador of the LBW Trust, with an eye to improving tertiary education opportunities for youths in cricket playing countries.

Now he's set his sights on helping out with one of the major problems facing young people within Australia, utilising the support of some generous benefactors, in particular cricket fanatic John McMurtrie of Link Group Ltd, who is a notable supporter of such social causes.

"I've always had in the back of my mind that there's a lot to be done here," he explained to

"While it's great to support charities overseas … there's a lot of good causes here in Australia.

"What really brought (the issue of homelessness) home to me was when I was living in Melbourne.

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"Living in East Melbourne, just over the road from where we lived was Fitzroy Gardens, I used to go over into the Gardens at 6.30 every morning and do some exercise. I was staggered at the number of people who slept in there.

"There's a couple of electricity booster stations in the Gardens and they would sleep around them because there was a bit of warmth coming off those buildings.

"That got me thinking about homeless people, particularly young people. When I looked at the research, it was something like of the 100,000 people who sleep rough every night, 40 per cent of them are under 25.

"I thought, in a country like ours, that's unacceptable. And there's a whole raft of stuff that emanates from that.

"A lot of the people who are in this situation, they're on various spectrums and they're quite intelligent people, and if somehow we could help point one, two, a dozen or a hundred of them in the right direction, that would be worthwhile."

Chappell has assembled an impressive line-up to aid his quest to assist in eradicating homelessness from Australia, from Sir Peter Cosgrove to former Prime Minister John Howard, to sporting legends Dennis Lillee and Pat Rafter.

And it's his experiences within sport that Chappell says he can draw comparisons with the situations facing the country's homeless youth.

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"Sport is good for understanding that 'there but for the grace of God go I'," he explained. "You can have a good day on the field and everyone else has a bad day, and equally you can have a bad day and others have a good day.

"It's swings and roundabouts.

"Everyone needs a little bit of luck, and a helping hand along the way.

"I consider myself very fortunate to have had a good family background, but equally had good people along the way – at various cricket clubs and so on who have pointed me in the right direction.

"I look back and I can see a couple of sliding door moments where things could have been very different.

"If we can provide that sliding door for someone else, I'll be happy."

The Foundation has modest ambitions, with the key concept being that all funds raised and efforts put in are targeted at addressing the problem directly.

"We're to run things very lean; we're aiming for every dollar or just about every dollar to go to the cause," Chappell said.

"We're not setting up a big infrastructure, we're not going to be paying people to work – if they're with us they'll be passionate volunteers.

"So we'll start out small but if in 10 years' time we've got something that's doing a good job, I'll feel it's all been worthwhile."

To take part in the The Chappell Foundation's fundraising golf event in Sydney on October 6, click on this link