South Gippsland sport leads the way
SOUTH Gippsland has been identified as the second highest area for sport participation in Victoria, according to State Government research.
The Sport Participation Rates – Victoria 2015 report indentified 33.5 player registrations were completed for every 100 residents in South Gippsland.
This participation rate ranked South Gippsland as the second highest in the state following Buloke at 39.1 registrations per 100 residents.
Australian football, basketball, bowls, cricket, soccer, golf, gymnastics, hockey, netball, sailing and tennis player membership databases from 2015 were analysed to gain these insights into community participation in organised sport in Victoria.
The research project was a collaboration between VicHealth, Sport and Recreation Victoria, Federation University, Victoria University and the 11 sports.
Council’s recreation officer Ian Murphy was pleased South Gippsland was identified with the second highest participation rate in the state.
“South Gippsland should be extremely proud our community has such a commitment to playing local sport and being a healthy and active community. It is the volunteers who give their time to support their local sporting clubs that make these opportunities possible for our community,” he said.
“This research demonstrates the need for continual support of our local sporting clubs and the maintenance of our recreational assets which council provides through community grants and access to State Government funding for major projects.”
The seven golf courses, 10 bowls clubs, numerous indoor sport stadiums and 20 recreational reserves with ovals and outdoor courts in South Gippsland all contribute to making a broad range of activities available for everyone in the community.
Leongatha and District Cricket Association secretary Gary Adams was happy to see the positive result and imagined it would only improve in the future.
“The Leongatha and District Cricket Association, with probably the largest number of participating teams in Gippsland, is also looking to expand with a new girls’ competition starting in February,” he said.
According to a Gippsland Soccer League spokesperson, participation in soccer continues to grow across the region.
“The successful introduction of a dedicated U15 girls’ age group last season, the strength of the women’s competition and the continued popularity of the game with children has ensured numbers continue to grow in our family oriented league. We want the whole family to play – mum, dad and the children,” the spokesperson said.
At the Leongatha Golf Club, there is a strong commitment to maximising opportunities for people to play, according to club president Dan Poynton.
‘As a club, growing our participation rates and giving as many people in our community access to the sport of golf and our club has been a high priority for us. We’ve really made a point of not just going down the traditional golf participation model of 18 hole competition golf and pushing memberships onto people as well,” he said.
“Through the support of council working with our Regional Sports Assembly GippSport, we’ve been trying to be innovative by delivering a range of programs as well as social participation opportunities. Things like kinder golf programs that run indoors, all abilities programs for local people with disabilities, Swing FitGolf Australia’s new women’s social program, Big Hole golf and other shortened formats are starting to really take off.
“We’re currently planning foot-golf, a hybrid golf and soccer program with a local soccer club too. I guess we’re lucky in that golf is a sport for life. You can learn it young and play until very late in your life unlike footy and other more physical contact sports. We have participants ranging in age from three to 90 years old.”
Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King confirmed netball continues to be active across many communities.
“It’s very positive to see sport is so strong in South Gippsland, the level of physical activity has been a hot topic for a while, particularly in our young demographic. With netball still the number one sport for females, we are seeing growth in all abilities as well as male participation, not only as players but as officials. This is a great opportunity to thank our volunteers who work so hard to offer a variety of ways to be involved in netball, as well as the South Gippsland Shire for its vision,” she said.
Individuals wishing to know more about the research and its results can visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/media-and-resources/publications/victorian-participation-in-organised-sport.
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