Funding of scooters for a young Auckland family has allowed them to be more active more often and changed family life for the better.
Through the Active Me – Kia Tū fund, a two-year $2.9 million Sport NZ pilot initiative in partnership with Variety - the Children’s Charity, Mary* was able to buy scooters for her four daughters aged 10, 12, 15 and 18.
“The kids have been so much more active. I don’t have to tell them to go outside, they all just head outdoors and play on their scooters. There’s a lot more sibling and family time as a result,” says a delighted Mary.
Through Variety’s Kiwi Kid Sponsorship, Mary’s family accessed the Active Me – Kia Tū fund, which seeks to provide at least 3,000 tamariki and rangatahi per year living in financial hardship in Auckland and Northland access to play, active recreation, and sport opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.
The funds can help pay for new equipment, registration fees, shoes or uniforms, and other costs associated with quality physical activity.
Sport NZ Group Chief Executive Raelene Castle says, “Seeing the impact on people’s wellbeing caused by COVID-19 and drop in activity levels caused us to think differently about how we ensure funds got out to the community so people could be active.
“Our partnership with Variety means that the support gets directly to those that need it most and is improving the wellbeing of young people and their families.”
The experiences of Mary’s and other families show how well this working.
“Being able to access the funding has been really positive for us. Just being able to see my kids outside being active rather than being inside and on devices… we’re a happier family,” says Mary.
It has also meant more regular family outings on weekends or after school to the nearby skatepark, where the children have also forged new friendships.
Another Auckland family is equally grateful for the Active Me – Kia Tū funding for five of their children.
Sophia*, who was struggling to provide her children, aged seven to 17, with opportunities to be more active, has used the funds to buy basketballs, pay for soccer fees and clothing/uniforms.
The basketballs are proving a hit, and the seven and 10-year-old are relishing the opportunity to play soccer. So much so, Sophia says they wake up excited and ready to go on a Saturday morning.
“It’s important to see my children active, it’s so good and it’s changed my life and theirs. It has given them opportunities to do things they wouldn’t have done otherwise.”
Variety CEO Susan Glasgow says the Active Me - Kia Tū fund is giving children in need more opportunities to enjoy life and grow.
“Through our Kiwi Kid Sponsorship programme, Variety provides the basics children need to survive, things like shoes, warm bedding, and clothing. Our partnership with Sport NZ and the Active Me – Kia Tū fund is giving children what they need to thrive.”
“Supporting children to be more physically active and to take part in activities alongside their peers has an enormous impact on their confidence, self-esteem, and long-term health outcomes. We are also thrilled with how well the pilot programme has been embraced by caregivers and whānau,” says Susan.
Since the fund went live in March 2021, over $1m has been distributed to 4,444 tamariki and rangatahi in Auckland and Northland, exceeding initial expectations.
* not their real names
Sport NZ also partners with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu to provide a $850,000 Government fund called Te Kīwai. Te Kīwai, also a two-year pilot, provides direct financial support for tamariki and rangatahi Māori throughout the South Island who are experiencing financial hardship and missing out on physical activity opportunities.