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Sports vouchers spark big jump in youth player numbers
9 May 2017
At the Modbury Sports and Community Club, the kids are taking over!
The joint aussie rules and cricket club has about 900 members (including social members), of whom about 550 are children.
But the number of young members is growing at a rate of knots – up by about one-third in the past two years!
A big factor is the Sports Voucher Program. It was introduced in 2015 by the Government of South Australia, and entitles every primary school aged child in the state to a $50 voucher, each year, to put towards the cost of joining a sporting club.
Over the past two years, 715 vouchers – worth $35,750 – have been redeemed through the Modbury club.
Many children were already members, and have now grabbed a couple of vouchers each (one in 2015, another to renew their membership in 2016). There are also a lot of new members, especially from families with two or more children.
As the Modbury club’s Treasurer Julie Wells explains,
“More families with extra siblings are playing. For example where there are two brothers or a third child, it’s much more affordable for families now with the vouchers.
“It’s just a lot cheaper.”
The change has been so dramatic, the Modbury club has gone from fielding about 20 junior footy teams, to 25 teams.
Across South Australia the uptake with the vouchers has been terrific too; 100,000 vouchers in two years means almost 1,000 are being claimed each week.
Of the 1,400 clubs and associations taking part, the biggest uptake has come from aussie rules, netball and soccer clubs.
Apart from the sheer number of children taking advantage of the voucher program, one of the most pleasing outcomes for the Office for Recreation and Sport is the flow-on benefits – physical fitness, mental wellbeing, social cohesion, companionship, and fun!
To find your nearest eligible club, go to www.sportsvouchers.sa.gov.au.