In a Victorian first, Frankston City Council is doing its part to provide kids with healthier alternatives to fast-food and takeaway vouchers by rolling out the new Healthy Sports Rewards initiative from VicHealth.
The initiative will see two Frankston City junior sports clubs join Bendigo, Yarra Ranges, Shepparton and Nillumbik in replacing current junk food offerings with vouchers for healthy activities at Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre (PARC).
South Ward Cr Claire Harvey is excited about the initiative and eager for kids to have access to healthier rewards in sport.
Cr Harvey said: “The Healthy Sports Rewards initiative is a positive way for local sports clubs to award young players with healthy award options instead of junk food.
“It is important for fast-food and takeaway vouchers to be replaced with healthy alternatives to ensure children continue to reap the rewards of their participation in junior sport,” Cr Harvey said.
Frankston Council has partnered with Peninsula Leisure, Peninsula Strikers Junior Football Club and Pines Junior Football Club as part of the Healthy Sports Rewards initiative.
Peninsula Leisure Pty Ltd is a subsidiary company wholly owned by Council and charged with the management of PARC and Pines Forest Aquatic Centre.
Peninsula Strikers Junior Football (Soccer) Club and Pines Junior Football Club have been provided with vouchers – thanks to Peninsula Leisure – to acknowledge and reward top efforts by young players.
The Healthy Sports Rewards vouchers can be presented at the PARC reception desk and entitle the recipient to one free Group Entry pass to PARC’s aquatic facilities. A Group Entry pass is for two adults and two children.
Peninsula Leisure Pty Ltd is committed to providing quality sports, recreation and leisure products and services with a focus on community engagement and innovation alongside a reputation for delivering exceptional service.
Peninsula Strikers Junior Football Club President Rob Harrington said his club is looking forward to participating in the Healthy Sports Rewards initiative.
“We’ve been looking for a program with these objectives for a long time. This is a really good fit for us and reflects the healthy message that we want to promote to our young players,” Mr Harrington said.
Peninsula Leisure CEO, Kath Thom, said: “At Peninsula Leisure we are committed to keeping our community active and engaged. The Healthy Sports Rewards program provides a great alternative to help get kids active, and change their behavior towards healthier options.
“We are delighted to partner with Council and VicHealth on this great initiative. Designed to introduce healthier options to children in the Frankston community, we hope that our free access to certificate recipients will influence healthy habits and choices, and demonstrate how much fun and enjoyment can come from exercise,” Ms Thom said.
VicHealth CEO, Dr Sandro Demaio, said we must stamp out unhealthy vouchers to put the health and wellbeing of Victorian children above junk food companies’ profits.
“Rewarding children with vouchers for fast-food during sport builds powerful brand associations at a young age and contributes to poor health, now and into adulthood,” Dr Demaio said.
“Families are telling us they want healthier rewards for their children. We’re excited to partner with local Victorian Councils to work towards making healthy and fun rewards the norm in junior sport.”
The Healthy Sports Reward initiative comes off the back of new VicHealth and Deakin University research which shows two in three parents think kids’ sports rewards should be healthy. Among the 500 Victorian parents surveyed, half (51 per cent) said their children had received a voucher from a large fast-food company at their sports club, and 42 per cent had received one for a local fast-food outlet.
For more information about VicHealth’s new Healthy Sports Rewards initiative, please visit www.vichealth.vic.gov.au