Sport England look to Clunes on move

FOCUS: Sport England chief executive Jennie Price visits Sports Central this week to explore and share advice to get more regional Victorian women moving in an extension of the prominent This Girl Can campaign. Picture: Lachan Bence

FOCUS: Sport England chief executive Jennie Price visits Sports Central this week to explore and share advice to get more regional Victorian women moving in an extension of the prominent This Girl Can campaign. Picture: Lachan Bence

THE woman behind the world-famous This Girl Can campaign wanted a closer look at how Clunes is moving.

Sport England chief executive officer Jennie Price finished off a fortnight-long Australian working tour with a visit to Clunes, via Ballarat, to scout the town’s better health project.

Keen to look outside England, Ms Price said it was essential to understand what was happening outside the cities just as it was to look in suburbia when it came to breaking down barriers to get people moving more.

Clunes Better Health Project is run in partnership between Sports Central and Hepburn Health, aiming to expand existing sport programs to promote participation like junior golf and the social, shorter lawn bowls format Jack Attack.

Sport used to be obsessive – you had to be 100 per cent committed to the one club and playing the one sport - Jennie Price, Sport England

“The project is built around what the community needs. It’s about communities first and clubs second,” Ms Price said. “The great advantage smaller places have is that places like bowls clubs are usually where parties or events are held. It’s not a scary place...it’s really familiar and safe.”

Ms Price’s visit came in the same week Sport England announced a landmark partnership with VicHealth to expand and adapt its deliberately edgy This Girl Can campaign.

The project draws on women of all sizes having a go and exercising with provocative slogans like, “I kick balls – deal with it”, to tackle the gender gap in female exercise participation and fears of judgement.

Health projects like in Clunes, Ms Price found, help to break down traditional sporting barriers and thoughts.

“Sport used to be obsessive  – you had to be 100 per cent committed to the one club and playing the one sport,” Ms Price said. “As life changes, it’s quite normal to stop a sport or move on to something else – training two nights a week and playing on a Saturday may no longer be practical. The key question is: are you still fit and active? Because that itself, is just as good for that person.”

This Girl Can launches in Victoria next year but women can share their stories at thisgirlcan.com.au. See inspiration below.

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