Whanganui Midweek

Merry Christmas from Sport Whanganui

Volunteers vital to cope with lockdowns


As we reflect on another year drawing to a close, there are three key things that stand out about our regional community for the team at Sport Whanganui: connectedn­ess, the individual’s ability to keep giving, and resilience.

I think we will all agree that 2021 has been a year of highs and lows, quite like no other we have experience­d before. Despite this, we have continued to adapt and with all the new challenges, sports and active recreation clubs across the region have found ways to remain active.

Our vast pool of volunteers have continuall­y adapted and adjusted to lockdowns and most recently, the new Covid-19 Protection Framework. The time put in to ensure sports and active recreation could still take place is immeasurab­le.

Aidan O’Connor, sport and club partnershi­p lead for Sport Whanganui, has massive respect for the volunteer sector and describes the process the community have undertaken for the good of sport:

“Volunteers play a vital role in our sports network. Many of our sports operate solely through the incredible dedication and commitment from many members of our community who volunteer their time.

“This has never been more apparent than now as we all learn to adapt to the new Covid Protection Framework and how that impacts community sport.

“Sport NZ has provided detailed guidance for our sector and set up webinars for people to ask questions as they relate to the new framework. Our sporting community are now working towards delivering their sport in a safe manner that adheres to the new traffic light levels.

“We know at times volunteeri­ng can be a thankless task, however through initiative­s such as the reintroduc­tion of the volunteer card we are wanting to let volunteers know that we appreciate the immense amount of work they do. A huge thanks to the Mainstreet businesses who support the volunteer card this


“It is important that we as a network continue to look at the new and different ways people are wanting to volunteer and adapt to cater for this. We know how important volunteers are and we need to listen to their feedback around their volunteeri­ng experience. This can help us make any necessary changes to ensure our sporting network continues to thrive.”

The Active Wellbeing team who provide as part of their mahi, Green Prescripti­on and Fit for Surgery programmes to support individual­s on their pathway to wellbeing, have been humbled witnessing how clients

have managed to overcome the obstacles to remain focused on their wellbeing.

We have all been challenged at times to maintain relationsh­ips from a distance over the last year, with lockdowns and the new traffic light system, and this has been particular­ly true for these clients. We acknowledg­e the hard work and perseveran­ce it has taken to stay focused and prioritise wellbeing.

Deb Byers, Active Wellbeing manager, describes what can be a roller coaster ride to wellbeing: “It can be really dishearten­ing to get on a roll with exercise and diet routines and to have the routine broken because access to facilities is restricted, or we can’t meet face to face with our support.

“Our routines look different from where we were a year ago, but the important thing is we kept going, we adapted.”

Danny Jonas, chief executive of Sport Whanganui, shares his insight from 2021: “We have had a stark reminder in the last two years that the wellbeing of the individual­s is the most important thing, and I don’t just mean from a Covid-19 perspectiv­e.

“These individual­s are part of the makeup of our community and contribute in their own way to the greater wellbeing of everyone. It can be easy to lose sight of that. Sport and recreation can be the gel that builds a community by connecting individual­s to a common interest from all age groups and background­s.

“I can’t emphasise enough the value volunteers bring to our community by providing sport and activity.”

At times we have all had our resilience tested yet we continue to build new routines. To all the organisati­ons and individual­s who plan, organise and participat­e in sport and active recreation, to those who have continued on their journey to wellbeing, Sport Whanganui says a huge thank you.

 ?? ?? A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Sport Whanganui.
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all at Sport Whanganui.
 ?? ?? Cook Candlestic­k Yellow, a ceramic work by Paul Rayner, showing now at the 85 Glasgow St Art Centre.
Cook Candlestic­k Yellow, a ceramic work by Paul Rayner, showing now at the 85 Glasgow St Art Centre.

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