Tuggeranong Buffaloes Junior Rugby League Football Club has scored a massive win – it’s been named ACT Good Sports Club of the Year.

The Good Sports Awards recognise community clubs and people who show leadership in encouraging healthy behaviours to tackle alcohol, obesity and mental health issues through sport.

The Australian Drug Foundation’s pioneering Good Sports program works with more than 7000 clubs nationwide to help them develop healthier and safer environments for their members, and create a healthier future for our younger generations.

ACT Regional Good Sports Manager Debbie Simms said the Tuggeranong Buffaloes had evolved from a club with a drinking culture to a more family-friendly sporting environment.

“The club is being recognised for its victories off the field when it comes to alcohol and smoking. They have made many improvements including providing taxi vouchers and non-alcoholic vouchers on fundraising nights. This has resulted in fewer conflicts and everyone enjoying their night out,” said Ms Simms.

“Some of their committee members are trained in the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) which enables them to oversee sensible drinking by all members at meetings and functions.

“The Buffaloes are an example to other clubs in the area and were one of the first junior clubs in Canberra to reach Level 3 of the Good Sports program – the highest accreditation.”

Club Secretary Yvette Croft said they were leading the way on other health issues too for example by creating one of the first non-smoking fields in the territory.

“Although smoking is allowed by ACT law, the Tuggeranong Buffaloes have gone above and beyond by banning smoking on our grounds and creating a smoking area outside the club’s boundaries.

“Our community has embraced our non-smoking policy and some of our committee members have even given up smoking this year. Our committee now consists of mostly non-smokers whereas in previous years they were in the minority.

“The Tuggeranong Buffaloes have worked hard over the last four years to create a safe and healthy sporting club for local families. We’re proud to provide a smoke-free environment for our families and visitors to our grounds.

“The committee is proud to be associated with the Good Sports program and will continue working hard to keep the program moving forward.”

As the ACT winner, the Tuggeranong Buffaloes will now go into the running to win the 2015 National Good Sports Club of the Year Award. The national winner will be announced on 19 November.

Good Sports clubs have less risky drinking and are healthier, safer and more family-friendly places to enjoy sport. According to independent research, and in a world-first, Good Sports has been proven to reduce the likelihood of risky drinking by 37% and the risk of alcohol-related harm to club members by 42%.

Good Sports in the ACT is funded by ACT Health.