Two months into her new role as Sport Canterbury community adviser for Mid Canterbury, Alice Breading is embracing all aspects.
‘‘I am passionate about my work. I live in the Ashburton community and so want to invest in it,” she said.
“My roots are here, and this area is very important to me. I want to see it thrive and see people actively involved in some form of movement or action.’’
In her role, the 31- year-old is a voice for all forms of sport in Mid Canterbury.
Growing up in Rakaia, she played netball in the winter and swam in the community pool in summer.
Now her three children play rippa rugby, tackle rugby, miniball, football and karate.
‘‘Sport is such a big part of who I am, I am truly passionate about it.’’
She said she was looking forward to continuing the work of her predecessor, Sport Canterbury co-ordinator for Mid Canterbury, Jan Cochrane in building healthier communities.
An important part of the role is to engage children and teenagers in active play.
‘‘In order to get young people involved in sport, we need to provide as many different opportunities as we can,’’ Breading said.
‘‘I am fortunate to not only work alongside but to have the support and knowledge of Sport Canterbury staff in Christchurch and Timaru.”
Not all young people will want to play netball or rugby, but instead may prefer to keep active playing with friends at the park or skate boarding, she said.
Her role includes working with sporting codes and other groups and individuals to remove barriers to people becoming as active as possible.
Her focus is on play, getting people involved in active recreation, supporting sports clubs and working as a community connector in the health activity learning space.
While many people think of sport in the more traditional and formal sense of team games such as netball, hockey, rugby and cricket, Breading promotes not only these but any activity that gets people moving.
‘‘It is about providing opportunities that encourage people to be active. It might be gardening, or like my son and his ‘gang’ of six fellow students who scooter to school.’’
While netball and rugby remained the most popular sports in the district, there were many others growing in popularity, such as gymnastics.
Providing a voice and advocating for sports is also an important part of the role, and she is always looking for the opportunities to connect with many groups in the community such as walking groups and play groups.
Sport Canterbury has access to people with various skills who can provide resources, education and training to sport groups needing help.
‘‘If we are finding sideline behaviour is not acceptable, we can bring someone into speak to the coaches and volunteers to assist them in how to deal with that.’’
In addition, as the cost of living crisis has impacted some children’s access to sport, there were some organisations assisting with funding, aiming to remove these barriers.