Time for Fair Access is now. This is the message state government is sending to all Victorian councils. From July 2024, local councils will need to ensure fair access to sporting facilities for people of all genders to be considered eligible to receive infrastructure funding.
“This is a real ‘put your money where your mouth is’ initiative,” according to Brooke Connolly, Manager, Sport, Recreation & Health at Leisure Networks.
Last Friday March 3, Leisure Networks, in its role as the Regional Sports Assembly for the Barwon Region, delivered a Fair Access training workshop to Barwon’s five Local Government Areas.
“By providing practical insight and knowledge to support development of locally relevant approaches, the full-day workshop focussed on building capacity within the five LGAs to ensure they deliver fair access to community sporting facilities,” explained Ms Connolly.
This session was one of 13 workshops rolled out across Victoria as part of the Education Phase of the Fair Access Policy Roadmap that was launched by the Minister for Community Sport in 2022.
“The Roadmap, which is being delivered by the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation (OWSR) in partnership with VicHealth,” Ms Connolly continued, “is really about making sure women and girls feel comfortable fully participating in community sport. If we can ensure that there are fair opportunities and access to local facilities, then we can support women and girls to participate and therefore enjoy the benefits of physical recreation.
“Of course, participation in community sport is not just about physical wellbeing,” said Ms Connolly, “it’s as much about mental wellbeing. Particularly as it relates to how we connect with our communities and build friendships.
“Initiatives like the Fair Access Policy Roadmap, that truly promote inclusivity, are at the heart of our Leisure Networks vision: ‘healthy, capable, inclusive communities,’” said Ms Connolly. “Personally, I feel privileged to be playing my part in delivering the Roadmap and I’m looking forward to seeing more opportunities for all people across our regional sporting communities.”