Sport and recreation boost aims to get regional young people moving

Boosting participation in community sport and physical activity is vital for young people in regional communities.

The South Australian Government’s Connected and Active Communities (CAC) Project – designed to help activate movement, play and community connectedness in the state’s regions – has expanded following success in two initial pilot locations.

The CAC Project leverages the strengths of South Australian communities through a partnered approach to establish and foster relationships that grow localised capacity to build and deliver impactful physical activity initiatives.

The initiative aims to encourage more people in regional areas to engage in physical activity – something important to young people whose smaller regional schools do not offer the resources to have regular school sporting competitions.

The SA State Government has committed $500,000 a year for the next three years across four pilot regions, for the CAC Project to partner with regional communities and codesign actions that contribute to and deliver sustainable solutions that heighten physical activity participation and better connect communities.

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Initiatives in the Riverland and Whyalla regions commenced in 2024, following successful pilots throughout 2023 in the Limestone Coast and Port Lincoln.

Within the project, locally employed CAC Project Officers have been selected to lead initiatives including:

  • Future leaders – increasing the amount, and capacity, of diverse leaders within the sport and recreation community
  • Club health check – understanding the needs of clubs
  • Facility coordination – maximising local assets to increase participation for all
  • Mental health in clubs – making clubs a safe space for mental health conversations
  • Volunteerism and micro-volunteering – making it easier for people who care about sport and recreation to find ways to help
  • Heart of the community – working with sport and recreation communities to be as inclusive and welcoming as possible
  • Performance pathways – providing development opportunities for athletes, coaches and officials
  • Increasing community events – increasing physical activity opportunities through events
  • Supporting active lives – addressing barriers to participation and lifelong engagement

SA youth not meeting daily physical activity requirements

Only 14 per cent of South Australian youth are meeting the physical activity requirements of 60 minutes per day.

One of the many aims of the CAC Project is to increase the number of eligible young people in SA’s regions claiming Sports Vouchers (the State Government funded $100 discount on sport, dance, learn to swim or Scouts/Guides fees) to make it easier for them to move, play and perform.

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“People in regional communities understand their own needs better than anyone else,” says SA Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing Katrine Hildyard.

“As part of the CAC Project, we’ve visited the regions, listened to what they’ve had to say and captured their expertise to lead a sustained cultural change.”

Hildyard says “we’ve already seen some incredibly positive outcomes in the Limestone Coast and Eyre Peninsula, and we’re excited for the expansion to continue into the Riverland and Whyalla”.

“Through sport and recreation initiatives that have been driven by the community, we aim to bring people together, create a strong sense of belonging and improve participants’ physical, mental and emotional health and well-being.”

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