Sport NZ and Variety launch $2.15m fund for families in financial hardship
Sport NZ has launched a two-year partnership with Variety - the Children’s Charity - aimed at enabling tamariki and rangatahi (young people 4 to 18 years) living in financial hardship to access play, active recreation, and sport opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.
Funding is available to help pay for new equipment, registration fees, shoes or uniforms, and other costs associated with quality physical activity.
Through Variety’s Kiwi Kid Sponsorship, the new Active Me – Kia Tū fund will assist 3,000 young people in Auckland and Northland through an investment of $2.15 million from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package.
Sport NZ Chief Executive Raelene Castle says COVID-19 has prompted Sport NZ to think beyond traditional investment approaches to ensure much-needed funds are getting out into the community.
“We know that tamariki and rangatahi who are active are more likely to become healthy active adults, but sadly not all young people have access to the same types of opportunities. Sport NZ has made it a priority to ensure recovery funding is getting to those that need it most, and the wellbeing of our young people is a priority.
“We are excited about this two-year pilot with Variety and seeing what it can achieve,” she says.
Sport NZ’s 2019 research found that between ages 12 and 14 young people from the least deprived areas spend 90 minutes more each week being physically active compared with those from the most deprived areas (12.7 hours compared with 11.2 hours). The study also identified that cost and lack of transport are significant barriers to participation for young people from high deprivation areas.
“Variety works with whānau and communities in need, and this ensures that the support gets directly to the individuals who most need it,” says Raelene Castle.
Variety CEO Susan Glasgow says, “Since 2013 our Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme has given thousands of kids access to the same opportunities as others. This partnership with Sport NZ enables us to make a real focus of getting these kids into physical activity and realising the value that brings in terms of physical health, mental health and social connectivity.
“Young people are our future and this is a great opportunity to stop cost being a barrier to being active with friends and family. We believe this partnership will make a huge difference to the lives of the families we work with.”
A 2017 evaluation of the Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme found that 98% of the children in the programme feel more included and 96% of families feel less stressed.
A two-year pilot, the Active Me – Kia Tū fund will be evaluated by Sport NZ to assess the impact and viability of the initiative and whether it can be extended in future years and to other regions.