The VicHealth Healthy Sporting Environments Program (2011-2014), with the backing of Victoria’s nine Regional Sporting Assemblies, supported over 250 rural and regional community sporting clubs to become healthier and more welcoming environments by implementing policies, programs and practices. This included practical actions, resources (fact sheets, templates, guidelines, websites) and examples from within sport.
The key elements of this framework are now available for sport organisations to use and create healthier environments. There are five key areas that your sport can consider for action:
- Healthy Eating
- Responsible Use of Alcohol
- UV Protection
- Smokefree Sport
- Injury Prevention and Management (coming soon)
Healthy sports clubs promote respectful attitudes and foster a culture that supports health and wellbeing. In addition to promoting physical activity, community sports clubs provide an ideal setting for broader health promotion and reducing the impact of risky lifestyle behaviours. They can positively influence the health outcomes of individuals and that of communities.
Many community settings such as schools, childcare organisations, hospitals and universities have already initiated the process of creating healthier and more welcoming environments. They report noticeable and positive changes within their communities that support overall improved health and wellbeing.
73% of clubs who completed the Healthy Sporting Environments module reported a better club culture as a key benefit of the program.
Healthy and thriving sporting environments extend beyond the playing field. They are welcoming, family-friendly and inclusive of all in the community. They promote and reinforce healthy and respectful attitudes and foster a culture that supports health and wellbeing.
Sporting organisations that have a commitment to good health have a better chance of:
- Attracting new members
- Retaining existing members
- Securing better funding and sponsorship opportunities
- Raising the organisation’s profile within the community
40-45% of sporting clubs who addressed healthy eating saw an increase in the sales of healthy food and beverages.
Evaluation of this program by global firm Ernst & Young found that clubs were very receptive to the program and clearly understood the importance and benefits of improving health and wellbeing. Clubs were particularly successful in improving their governance, in inspiring change and momentum through club champions, generating greater community involvement in club activities and adapting resources to club needs. They reported thriving environments where club members were both surprised and excited by the positive impact that small changes had on their club operations and atmosphere.
Clubs who have already implemented healthy initiatives have observed both happier, healthier, more engaged members and collective and sustained behaviour changes across the entire club.
Similarly, we know from our long-standing partnerships in sport that community members will flock to good clubs, as players, volunteers, spectators or parents.
Practical strategies that your organisation could consider include:
- Identify multiple people at different levels to lead and drive the change
- Take your time to plan and work at your own pace
- Start at the top – your board or committee need to be on board and committed to the change
- Seek help from other organisations who have:
- Already been through this change; or
- Are experts in the area
- Ensure the process is as simple and straightforward as possible.
- Clear and consistent communication is really important throughout your change process. Clearly outline why the change is occurring and how it will help your organisation
- Speak with groups and/or individuals that the change will impact. Their input will:
- Provide a sound basis for your activities
- Help to minimise issues that you may not have expected.
Information regarding reduced tobacco use will be available soon.
Contact Vicsport via firstname.lastname@example.org or 9698 8100
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