In a bid to get more people active, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) has launched its Active Club Grants funding round, which assists with the purchase of essential sporting equipment, injury prevention equipment, portable shade and volunteer training.
Grants of up to $2500 are available to local sporting clubs, regional sporting leagues and associations and local active recreation clubs across Victoria.
“The grants aim to make it easier for clubs to fund items or activities that help them to improve safety and to reach out to new participants,” explained VicHealth Chief Executive Officer, Todd Harper.
More than 8000 sporting codes and clubs across Victoria have received Active Club Grants over the 20 years VicHealth has been providing this support. It’s estimated that over this period more than 1 million club members have been able to access safer and better equipped clubs with increases in trained volunteers.
“Each year the grants support more Victorians to become active and this is increasingly important as we see the impact of a lack of physical activity in the growing numbers of Australians with chronic diseases and other health problems,” Mr Harper said.
Physical inactivity is responsible for over 13,000 deaths per year in Australia and costs the health system $400 million in direct health care costs.
“We’re keen to encourage the involvement of people who are currently inactive, or who face barriers to participation. This may include Indigenous communities, older adults, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disabilities and those who live in low socio-economic communities.
Latest figures indicate that in Victoria, only 64.2 percent of adult men and 61.2 percent of adult women are sufficiently active to enjoy the health benefits of physical activity.
Research has shown that sport is often a means for building community pride and loyalty. Sport and shared recreation activities offer people the chance to get involved, providing them with a positive sense of self worth.
“Regular physical activity not only protects against many illnesses, it also makes us mentally healthy, alert and resilient against the stresses of modern life.” Mr Harper added.
There are also many economic benefits of having a physically active community. A recent VicHealth funded study undertaken by Deakin University revealed that if we were to reduce physical inactivity from the current levels of 70% to 60% over time there could be as many as 2000 lives saved annually.
Eligible sport and recreation organisations are invited to apply for this grant online through VicHealth’s website www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/activeclub, as well as having the option to apply in hard copy.
The funding round closes on Friday 4th December 2009.