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A message from the CEO - Annual Report 2020-21
The 20/21 financial year was one that did not have alert level 4 restrictions, although the impact of the global pandemic still had a large effect on our work in various ways. One of those key ways was acknowledgement that physical activity habits change during and after we lockdown.
During lockdown, people walk and cycle more in local areas and participate increasingly in family groups. This is fantastic news as knowledge of using neighbourhood parks, beaches, forests etcetera increases. However, sadly, children and young peoples’ activity levels drop (mainly due to no school sport and recreation), and post lockdown not everyone returns to their pre-lockdown habits. Overall, this means those at risk of not being active enough in level 1 conditions become even more at risk after a level 4 situation.
This has meant new challenges for our organisation. We had to be certain we were targeting the most cost-effective approach to impact physical activity levels long term all while the short team challenges continued. In the 20/21 year, for the first time, we employed a full-time play leader. This role is focused on developing the environment and stakeholders that can support unstructured play.
We also enhanced our approach to working with tamariki and rangatahi by continuing with healthy and active learning within schools. As part of this we realigned our approach to schools by focussing on the school environment for physical activity rather than event organisation. There were also new players in the market post lockdown and most were offering services to rangatahi at risk, so we reviewed our approach to this group which resulted in newly created roles advocating for young women and Te Ao Māori providers for rangatahi.
The second key issue that emerged for Sport Bay of Plenty was that in an uncertain environment, we needed greater clarity about how we can achieve impact. This meant we started a strategic planning process – with the board leading the initial stages thoroughly to determine our organisational intent. After an in-depth process, we are now close to confirming a more pithy and clear strategic plan for the 2022 financial year.
Community Sport continued to focus on the role of coaching, the Balance is Better approach, parent education and sport development. In addition, the successful Regional Spaces and Places Strategy completed its first review and the resulting second strategy has been endorsed by all councils. Our Green Prescription and Active Families work continued to meet all targets, although different work was needed post lock down. Support for clients living alone and in challenging situations increased, and referrals were often more complex.
Appreciation and thanks to BayTrust and Sport New Zealand whose continuing partnership meant we were able to adapt readily in 20/21. Our council and health partners also supported the organisation against a context of fast-moving changes in their work. Sport Bay of Plenty greatly values the relationship that allow us the flexibility to respond due to a shared vision for the BOP community.
As always, my thanks to the Sport Bay of Plenty team who were challenged greatly in 20/21. With some uncertainty of funding, a minor restructure and changing public health levels, there were many tensions to juggle, and they always deliver. My appreciation to Tom Elvin and our board who support the organisation while assessing strategic risk. Particular thanks to the Senior Leadership Team who dedicated many hours at flexible times to ensuring the organisation was able to adapt to changing environments.
Heidi Lichtwark – Sport Bay of Plenty chief executive