How a few games of table tennis raised over $60,000 for individuals living with a disability | HerCanberra

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How a few games of table tennis raised over $60,000 for individuals living with a disability

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Has anyone else been reluctant to participate in corporate sports days?

Same. I’m not quick (or fit) enough for a game of tennis. And you can forget golf—you think I want the pressure of having to hit that tiny ball into the distance, in front of hundreds of spectators with zero training? No, thank you. I’ll pass.

But, when I heard about a day that involved a few epic rounds of table tennis, a few beers and some street food, AND it raised money for a worthy local cause…well, it had my attention.

I mean, I’ve dabbled in a few rounds of beer pong and procrastinated with many a game of ping pong in the University of Canberra refectory, surely that was all the training I needed.

This may well have been what over 26 local businesses and over 120 other attendees also thought when they accepted the opportunity to sponsor Canberra’s newest corporate sports day, the Scarlett Slam.

Held by boutique financial agency, Scarlett Financial, the Scarlett Slam is the most untraditional of corporate sporting days, with rounds of table tennis played all to raise funds for The Ricky Stuart Foundation.

Not only is the sport one we can all indulge in, but the day also included a few Capital Brewing beers, lunch from Lebanese street food truck Fares Bueller, and an after-party to rival all others at Canberra hotspot Mooseheads.

“Creating a charity sports day has been on our business bucket list for a while now,” says Domenic De Marco, Director of Scarlett Financial.

“We had two requirements. One, to support a local charity that’s close to our organisation and two, to put on a day that absolutely anyone could get involved in.”

On Friday 26 March, that dream became a reality with the inaugural Scarlett Slam taking place at the ANU Sports Centre. Participants took to the courts to give it all they’ve got with their best backhands, dropshots, lobs and curveballs, while superstar sports presenter Stephen Peios commentated live at the event.

“Our goal was to raise $20,000 for the Ricky Stuart Foundation, but with Canberra’s generous spirit—particularly that of our platinum sponsors, property developer Englobo and property law firm Terracon Legal—we were able to raise over $60,000. It was an achievement well beyond our expectations, especially given the restrictions COVID-19 posed on our event,” says Dom.

“We are so excited to be part of the Scarlett Slam. It is because of organisations like Scarlett Financial and their commitment to the community that we will be able to begin our next project in 2021, a home for individuals living with a disability,” says Miranda Garnett, CEO of The Ricky Stuart Foundation.

The Ricky Stuart Foundation was created after Ricky’s daughter Emma was diagnosed with Autism at age 11. The family was forced to navigate a complex system, while at the same time adjusting to what that meant for Emma and the family.

Ricky recognised that he had the ability to be a voice for so many families, raise awareness of autism and provide some insight into the lives of so many families and individuals on a system that needs more support for housing and respite care.

Over the last almost 10 years the Foundation has built two state-of-the-art respite houses in the ACT.

The Ricky Stuart House, providing respite for children ages 5-12 years, and the Emma Ruby House, providing respite for teenagers/young adults ages 13-18 years.

The funds from the Scarlett Slam will contribute to the Foundation’s third project to develop a home for people with a disability, coinciding with Emma’s transition into her own home.

For young people like Emma independence is essential, having a home and a flatmate is all part of transitioning into becoming a young adult.

“After the success of this year’s event, and the countless phone calls we have received from participants confirming their attendance for another year, it’s safe to say the Scarlett Slam will take place in 2022,” says Dom.

“Hopefully we’ll be living in a world no longer required to physically distance to allow us more attendees, more sponsors and more money for the Foundation. If anyone is interested in getting in early for next year’s event, they can always email us at can always email us on”

Photography: Holly Williams – HollWill Photography / Ben Calvert – Ben Calvert Photography

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