Regional Sport Victoria Community Sport Insights

Regional Sport Victoria (RSV), the state peak body advocating & supporting a network of 6,500 rural and remote sporting clubs across Victoria, will this week embark on sector wide consultations regarding the state of community sport in regional Victoria.

RSV, along with its nine-member Regional Sport Assemblies (RSAs), brace themselves for a resumption of physical activity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In depth conversations by RSA staff with approximately
400 key community sport leaders across regional & rural Victoria have highlighted a number of preliminary findings regarding the impact and effect of COVID-19 on regional sporting groups.

Most significantly, community sport leaders are concerned about the physical, social and mental wellbeing impacts on their members and communities resulting from COVID-19.

Acting Chair of Regional Sport Victoria Dan Poynton said:

“Early indications from the data set, outlines that the impact of COVID-19 is going to significantly affect regional sporting clubs in Victoria, especially considering the compounding impacts of bushfire and long term drought in many communities.

“It’s vital that the sport and active recreation sector work collaboratively to support our regional communities. There is going to be a need for an integrated approach to supporting our regional clubs and RSV are leading the charge in kick starting these conversations.

“This week, we’ll be sharing our preliminary data and insights with State Sporting Associations and Local Governments across the state. Ultimately, we want to see a combination of a coordinated, systematic approach, balanced with placed-based solutions.

“It’s vital that the sector understand not only the specific challenges regional clubs are facing, but more importantly, the differing levers at our disposal, to ensure clubs are supported during and post the COVID19 pandemic.

A full return to community sport is inevitable, now is an opportunity to look for a fresh start and think about how we can deliver community sport and recreation opportunities in a more inclusive and financially sustainable manner. The significant reliance on canteen, bar and gate money from spectators to fund base operating costs for some sports is a concern.

“Congratulations to the Victorian State Government on the timely announcement of their Sport and Recreation (SRV) Community Sport Sector Short-term Survival Package grants, which will play a huge role
in the return-to-play and assisting local clubs in bouncing back.

“As a Network, we will continue to have discussions with regional sporting bodies and advocate to Government through the Community Sport Ministerial Round Table with Minister Ros Spence on the specific needs of rural and regional community sport.

You can view the interim report here.

The final report will be available in July.