Jan’s active retirement plans

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Jan Cochrane
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In retirement it is still important to keep fit and active. This is a message former Sport Canterbury Mid Canterbury regional manager Jan Cochrane has shared with people for the 30 years she has been in the role.

Now it’s advice she will follow as she enjoys her own well-earned retirement.

In 1993 with two primary school aged children Jan saw the role advertised and along with 19 others applied for it.

She was successful in getting the job, ‘‘I have loved the role, the people and being part of the community,’’ she said.

Jan has always had an interest in sport.

‘‘My main sports were netball and basketball, but I also played tennis and rugby, mainly in Nelson but also here. My rugby playing was more socially than competitively.’’

While there have been challenges in the role, Jan has always worked through them and the positives have outweighed the challenges.

One of the highlights of the role has been the partnership she has had with the Ashburton District Council (ADC) which had grown over the years.

‘‘I have enjoyed supporting the strategic vision that both organisations have. That is having a healthy community.

‘‘The partnership today is definitely stronger because we align in very positive ways.’’ she said.

Jan has grown the role and developed it into the success it is today.

Her role has included education with programmes, such as the Green Prescription and also involved supporting sporting organisations, encouraging people to play sport and active recreation.

As our community has become more ethically diverse, so have programmes that Sport Canterbury have offered, she said.

Through her role she has supported and delivered programmes for Sports Trust through Sport New Zealand. ‘‘When government’s change so can the programme we are asked to deliver so we need to be adaptable,” Jan said.

The types of programmes they offer from Sport New Zealand include coaching courses and resourcing, improving official’s capabilities, strategic planning, tools to pass on to clubs and the value of the volunteers.

When Jan started there were slogans in sport like Push Play, and 30-Minutes A Day.

With the ethnic diversity of Mid Canterbury now, Jan has seen football and volleyball being played by new migrants as a way to feel comfortable and socially connected.

‘‘As these players feel more welcomed and included in community, they may take the big step of engaging in other sport,’’ she said.

The annual event to honour sports people, teams, officials, and volunteers – the Sport’s Awards are something Jan has really enjoyed being involved with.

Back in the 1970’s Jan remembers talk of a new sports facility. The vision has always been there in the background, she said.

Jan was part of the initial meetings about the building of the current-EA Networks Centre.

‘‘It was absolutely exciting to be part of those initial talks and then see it come through to completion.’’

Prior to moving into the centre complex, Jan had an office at Midlands Seed for 28 years, and she was very appreciative of not only the office space but all so all the support they gave her and Sport Canterbury.

She said having at office at EA Networks Centre ‘‘I saw the value of the complex to not only sport but the district and wider.’’

It hasn’t quiet set in for Jan that she will now have freedom to do what she likes.

For so many years she gave her time to coaching netball outside of work while her husband Trevor, a former teacher at Ashburton College, coached athletics in his free time.

Jan is quick to acknowledge, ‘‘I couldn’t have done all I did or achieve what I did in my career if it hadn’t been for the support of Trevor, (and children) Charlotte and James.

‘‘They were often roped into help such as serving food at events, or James MCing the last Sports Awards.’’

Now she and Trevor are looking forward to travelling, spending time with James and Charlotte, their spouses, and the grandchildren. They are also looking forward to time to be together without having to think about work.

Jan has thoroughly enjoyed her job. She has given so much to this community through her work with Sport Canterbury but now it’s time for her and her family.