Selwyn District steps up to a healthier lifestyle

Selwyn is stepping up and embracing a healthier, more active lifestyle thanks to the Selwyn Sports Trust.

Established with a vision of inspiring participation in sport and recreation through opportunity in Selwyn, the Trust has gone from strength to strength.

Michael Wilson, Executive Director of Selwyn Sports Trust says from humble beginnings in 2013, the Trust has remained largely events based, although new and planned initiatives will only enhance what is already on offer.

So how did it all start? Michael says a group of Selwyn residents and sports enthusiasts, with a range of experiences, involvements and ideals when it came to sport and physical activity, came together to promote and support sport and recreation in the Selwyn District, by providing accessible events and programmes, hosted locally.

It started off with the Ellesmere Road Runners and the Selwyn Running Festival, both based out of Leeston.

Michael says the community really embraced the weekly, community minded running and walking groups. From there they connected with the Malvern and Lincoln communities running and walking groups. He estimates they are connecting with 400 individuals in Selwyn annually through the Road Runner groups and that number is set to grow with the addition of a Rolleston group and their Activator initiative in schools in the district.

Selwyn District is one of Canterbury’s fastest growing populations. Selwyn Sports Trust has recognised this and added events to their programme after identifying gaps which existed in the district.

“Our population is in a real growth phase. We have had to be forward thinking and innovative in our approach to ensure our district has full access to a range of opportunities to participate in physical activity,” says Michael.

The Frontrunner Lake Crichton Series showcases the fantastic, yet largely unknown, Lake Crichton facility, providing first time triathletes with one of the safest ways to give the sport a go.

The Koru Games give South Island year 7 and 8 students the opportunity to develop their individual sporting skills, while playing team sports for their schools. In 2016 there were in excess of 2000 competitors.

Michael says in 2017, the inclusion of Boccia is extremely exciting as it will allow the Games to cater to and include students with physical disabilities. .

Selwyn Sports Trust has strong collaboration principles, working with many local organisations, schools, regional sports groups and businesses. They have formed a strong working partnership with Sport Canterbury to develop the Selwyn Physical Activators programme. There are 25 schools involved in this programme, which aims to enhance physical education provision in primary schools across the district.

This is an organisation which demonstrates strong governance and has a wide skill base to draw from, including experience in sports governance and accountancy.

In the district there has been a perceptible shift in the way people are viewing sports and recreation. Michael says it is important to the Trust to highlight what is available to the district’s residents on their own doorstep.

“Everything we do requires a huge commitment from our large volunteer base. We are always conscious of the support and guidance we receive, from the volunteers who man the events, to the participants who fill out the reviews to ensure we continue to meet their needs, as well as our financial contributors”, he says.

Success for the Selwyn Trust is not about having the most competitors, holding the largest events or making the most money. It’s about enriching people’s lives and community well-being through sport and recreation. It’s that simple.

For further information on this story and other services please visit http://selwynsportstrust.org.nz/

To find out more about our priorities under the Participate Focus Area visit: www.ratafoundation.org.nz/funding/what-we-fund/participate