The Queanbeyan Age

Help your community with healthier sponsorships

Front row left to right: Billy Kimpton, Annie Kimpton, Tilly Gilligan. Back Row left to right: Paddy Kimpton, Charlie Gilligan, Jack Gilligan, Quinn Hancock.

This is branded content for ACT Health.

All throughout history, sport has brought Australians together, improving the bonds between players and spectators alike. Today, children's sport in particular plays an important role in strengthening communities and bringing locals together.

In Canberra alone, over 50,000 children play organised sport outside of school. That's the good news, the bad news is that the promotion of unhealthy food and drinks to children-often done via junior sports sponsorships-can set kids up for a lifetime of unhealthy behaviours.

So, to reduce reliance on unhealthy sponsorship arrangements, the ACT Government has launched the Gamechangers initiative with the aim of creating powerful partnerships between local non-food businesses and junior sport clubs. Speaking to the inspiration behind the program, Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the ACT Government wants Canberrans to enjoy the highest standards of health at every stage of their life.

"Participating in junior sports is an opportunity for young Canberrans to be physically, mentally and socially active throughout their childhood. This can help them develop healthy habits that last a lifetime, ensuring they can reach their potential and participate fully in society. Unfortunately, junior sports clubs are too often reliant on sponsorship that promotes unhealthy food and drink options," Minister Stephen-Smith said.

By sponsoring a junior sport club, local operators can access a market that has the potential to grow their business, an opportunity that local businesses have started to embrace.

For James Hodge and David Sullivan, co-founders of local business Tiparra, getting on board with the Gamechangers initiative has allowed them to increase awareness of their brand in a way that strengthens their bond with the community.

"For Tiparra it's about getting our name out in the community in a positive way. It can certainly never hurt for your company to be positively associated with a sporting team, and when you're launching a product where your potential clients include the very people running, managing, and participating in those sporting teams then this type of sponsorship is a true win-win for everyone," Mr Hodge and Mr Sullivan said.

Sporting clubs, too, are beginning to appreciate the benefits of seeking sponsorships that align with the health-focused philosophy of the Gamechangers initiative. Leigh Hancock, Gungahlin Eagles Junior Rugby Club President, has brought his junior club on board in the hopes of attracting healthier, more sustainable sponsorships that will in turn increase the appeal of his club.

"Key pillars of our vision are participation, welfare and contribution to the community. By reviewing our sponsorship and targeting a healthier base we can create strong foundations to be able to be successful at achieving and sharing our values both internally and also in the community," Mr Hancock said.

Whether you're a Canberra business that's keen for more exposure or a sporting club seeking sponsors that align with your club values, the Gamechangers initiative can help you make the connections you need. By simply filling out a form to create a profile online, businesses and clubs can express their interest in working together to create healthy, sustainable foundations for Canberra's future generations.

Are you a local business ready to support Canberra's next sporting heroes? Our smallest stars could be your biggest opportunity! Gamechangers can connect you with a sponsorship-ready junior sporting club for a winning combination. Visit health.act.gov.au/gamechangers