Two unique programs targeting Auckland’s young people have benefited from grants awarded by Auckland Council.
The Sport and Recreation Grants Programme is an initiative by the council that seeks to help children and young people get involved in physical activity.
A primary focus of the Grants Programme is on those people in the region whose participation is blocked by access and affordability barriers.
“Investing in our young people is important,” says Councillor Alf Filipaina, chairperson for Auckland Council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee.
“To be able to support projects that reduce barriers to participation in physical activity and ease the strain on the finances of families involved is important. It’s about giving back to the community”.
Empowering visually impaired through sport
Blind Sport New Zealand works with visually impaired youth and their families to help them engage in their local communities through sport and recreation.
With money being a barrier for many families, the Sports and Recreation Grant allowed Blind Sport NZ to run a programme free of charge.
“Providing free opportunities for vision impaired youth to participate in sport is really important and takes the pressure off struggling families”, says Casey Flint, Blind Sport NZ’s Education and Programmes Manager.
The programme allowed young people to get a taste for a multitude of sports including cycling, sailing, archery, jiu-jitsu and rock-climbing.
Trying the sports out occurred with the support of sighted guides, tactile learning and verbal communication’
“To see the delight in the faces of young people as they explore different sports and then find something they enjoy makes it worthwhile.
“Seeing them grow in confidence is really inspiring,” Casey says.
Changing lives through basketball
Building the self-esteem of disengaged Māori and Pasifika youth can be a challenge but for Dale Rasmussen of Tuilaepa Youth Mentoring Services (TYMS) the positive changes in a young person’s life are worth it.
“Seeing the change in young people who have come from challenging backgrounds is so rewarding,” he says.
As a successful recipient of a grant last year, TYMS was able to support a group of young people with their passion for basketball by helping them participate in a local basketball competition
This included providing transport, uniforms and even shoes.
“Many of the young people had never participated in organised sport due to challenges with costs, with even registration costs being financially out of reach of the families”, says Dale.
“The grant allowed us to involve the tamariki in an organised competition which was huge because many of the team had never played any sport with a referee before.”
Included in the support was a series of basketball skills workshops with ex-New Zealand Tall Black Benny Anthony.
“The young people really responded to the workshops with a former basketball player”, says Dale.
“Seeing them develop key life-skills through sport including self-worth, peer support and their identity has made this programme really worthwhile."
What are the Sport and Recreation Grants?
The Sport and Recreation Grants seek to support organisations that inspire and encourage young Aucklanders across the region to be more active more often.
Both Blind Sport New Zealand and Tuilaepa Youth Mentoring Services were awarded the grants because Auckland Council felt both organisations provided affordable and accessible opportunities to members of Auckland’s diverse communities for participation in physical activities.
Councillor Filipaina says that with young people being a key focus, it was important that projects were capable of delivering good quality outcomes.
“To see so many diverse young people grow and learn new skills when they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to do so is something I love about the grants programme”.
Applications are open now for this year’s grants.
If you have an organisation that you think would benefit from a Sports and Recreation Grant, apply now.
Applications close on 6 March 2020.