Sport HB aims to get region more active

Sport Hawke’s Bay is heading into new territory as it works towards initiatives which will encourage a more active region, resulting in healthier communities throughout Hawke’s Bay.

At Sport Hawke’s Bay’s Annual General Meeting chairman Damon Harvey signalled plans are underway to deepen the organisation’s reach into the community as it looks to lead a collaborative campaign to get people more active and turn around some of the region’s poor health statistics.

“At last year’s public meeting we reported how well the organisation had performed both financially and in delivering effective community programmes, but the following day, the region’s poor health statistics were revealed.

“We saw these health statistics as a bit of a wake up call and believe with the support of other organisations such as councils, iwi and health providers, we can get more people active and therefore healthier.

“We are currently working on plans to make this happen. We see Sport Hawke’s Bay playing a lead role in this exciting project and look forward to partnering with key stakeholders for a regional approach,” Mr Harvey said.

The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board report released this time last year revealed that of the 49 poor health indicators examined, the region was worse than the New Zealand average in 15 areas.

One of the more surprising findings was that Hawke’s Bay people are less physically active than the national average. The lack of physical activity was a factor in the region’s high obesity rate, with one in three adults obese.

“This was a startling finding as we have many attributes that other regions don’t have such as great weather, fantastic natural resources – rivers, beaches, mountains and significant investment in walking and cycling tracks as well as excellent parks and sport facilities.

“We think we can get more people active and this is something that can be turned around. We have a wealth of information, knowledge and expertise within our team at Sport Hawke’s Bay and deep connections into the community. We now plan to use our expertise and connections to encourage the Hawke’s Bay community to be more active,” Mr Harvey said.

Sport Hawke’s Bay chief executive Mark Aspden reported a surplus of $91,721 for the 2014/15 year. Revenue was $3,944,716, which was up from $3,808,679 on the previous year.

Mr Aspden said the improved financial position was pleasing, but was due in part to the fact that the organisation didn’t have people in key roles for periods during the year.

“We didn’t have a chief executive, commercial manager or corporate services manager for a couple of months and those vacancies contributed significantly to the surplus.

Mr Aspden indicated that for the next financial year Sport Hawke’s Bay is forecasting a drop in revenue to $3.65 million and an operating loss of $5169.

“The increasing pressure on funding sources, along with our desire to invest as much as we prudently can into our activities, leaves us acutely conscious of the need to continue to manage our finances closely.

Mr Aspden took over the role near the end of the financial year, following Colin Stone taking up a role with Sport New Zealand.

He said the result was much stronger than budgeted for, which was an operating loss of $69,339.

“Thanks to Colin and finance manager Annette Mossman we are in a much better position than planned. We have a solid financial platform to look towards the future and to consider the role of the organisation.

“Although we adopted a new three year strategic plan last year, we are going to undertake a review of this and develop a new strategy that is focused on getting more people active and also being more closely aligned with major funder Sport New Zealand’s strategy.

“As we look to the future, we intend to continue to move our focus more towards influencing the development of the sport and recreation sector in a sustainable way, rather than delivering activities or events ourselves,” Mr Aspden said.

This shift away from delivery has been happening for some time now and is strongly supported by Sport New Zealand, which is a major funder of Sport Hawke’s Bay.

“We also intend to focus on encouraging our community to be more active. Hawke’s Bay has so much open space in which to exercise, plenty of hills to climb and numerous cycle trails to cruise along, together with a great climate which allows us to take advantage of those assets.

“We want to do our bit to inspire everyone to exercise a little more. We are fortunate to have very good relationships with key stakeholders such as councils, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi, regional sports organisations, DHB, schools, facility owners and operators and EIT and we intend to work closely with these stakeholders to help get our communities moving,” he said.