Physical activity is set to become more accessible and attractive to regional Victorian teenagers and women through This Girl Can-Victoria campaign, thanks to a newly announced state government funding boost.
The $4.5million funding from Health Promotion Foundation VicHealth will be shared by nine Regional Sport Assemblies to introduce sport activities for local teens such as surfing, sailing and skateboarding. Regional Sports Assemblies will also help local clubs deliver new female-friendly activities, like sports programs for new mums.
The funds will also be used to make sports clubs more inclusive for women and girls, by identifying quick, simple and cost-effective changes like scheduling women and girls’ matches on the main grounds and promoting women’s sport on social media.
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said it was critical the sports clubs were supported to be more welcoming and attractive to women, young people and less active Victorians.
“As part of our This Girl Can -Victoria campaign, we’ve heard from so many Victorian women who’ve gone to a sports club or gym and never gone back because they’ve felt intimidated, embarrassed and ashamed.
“It only takes one bad experience- whether that’s being mocked by other members to being ignored by a coach or instructor – to make a woman feel like she never wants to try a sport or physical activity again.”
Ms Rechter said over 90% of teenagers were not getting an hour of physical activity every day to benefit their health and half of teens drop out of sport when they turn 15.
“We know sports clubs want to get more people in their community involved in their sport, which is why we’re working with them to make their clubs more accessible to everyone – regardless of their gender, age, ability, cultural background or what they look like,” she said.
Ms Rechter said the program aimed to address declining rates of physical activity and the associated impact on the health of Victorians.
“Less than a third of us do enough physical activity in a week to benefit our physical health and mental wellbeing.”