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SIMON.HENDERSON

@thenews.co.nz

Building collaboration between sporting clubs is the aim of the Upper Clutha Sports Community Trust.

Results from an online survey conducted by the trust showed some of the biggest challenges for groups were access to facilities, volunteers and funding.

Trust chairwoman Bronwyn Coers said the aim of the survey was to understand the needs of sporting clubs and organisations in the Upper Clutha area.

Facilities were a challenge for many groups, and although the region would benefit from new facilities – including the watersports facility now under construction on the shores of Lake Wanaka – there could still be challenges meeting future needs, Mrs Coers said.

“I think we will always be two steps behind meeting facility requirements.”

Trust secretary Diana Schikker said access to volunteers with specific skills was an issue for many groups.

People who had skills as coaches, managers, marketing and finance were needed.

“Only 11% at the moment feel that they are well supported,” Mrs Schikker said.

One idea that might help was sharing skills across more than one group, for example a volunteer secretary could work for more than one club.

“We see this as a fantastic solution to the current problem.” – Trust secretary Diana Schikker

This could develop into a paid role, with the costs shared across more than one group.

“Funds could be generated to employ part-time co-ordinators to work with a number of different clubs.

“We see this as a fantastic solution to the current problem.”

Sharing equipment was another way clubs could be more resilient, Mrs Schikker said.

One idea was creating a database of equipment from different clubs that they were willing to share.

Clubs could be compensated with payments to help offset the original purchase cost.

Winter and summer codes could help each other by sharing equipment in off-seasons.

Avoiding scheduling clashes was another area the trust hoped they could help with, along with finding ways to improve funding, Mrs Schikker said.

“We think it is time to get a little more creative in how clubs get funds because purely relying on grant applications and membership fees may not actually be enough.”

A highlight of their research was the Festival of Sport and Recreation, run by the trust.

The survey results put the festival as being the highest attended and rated event.

“It will be a portal for all sorts of upskilling tips and ideas.” – Sport New Zealand national sport development consultant Andy Rogers

The event “pulls in all these different clubs and codes”.

“We put them all under the one roof and they get to see they are actually part of a bigger picture,” Mrs Schikker said.

Sport New Zealand national sport development consultant Andy Rogers said there was a “massive network” of about a million volunteers in the sport and recreation sector across New Zealand, and about half were in some type of coaching role, he said.

When compared to other countries, “we sit really highly in the generosity of Kiwis”.

There were two key areas in which Sport NZ aimed to help upskill volunteer coaches: a national workforce of 600 to 800 coach developers had been built across the country – “They are like the trainers of coaches” – and a new website for volunteer coaches.

“It will be a portal for all sorts of upskilling tips and ideas.”

The site would include interviews with top educators and coaches and provide useful information on many aspects of coaching.

“We hope to launch that in July this year,” Mr Rogers said.