Local parents are calling for a re-think on the State Government’s Active Kids Voucher, demanding it be extended to younger children.
Jamisontown mum Kellie Winser has started a Facebook page to gain support to lower the age requirement for the financial assistance to include pre-school aged children.
Ms Winser’s 11-year-old son Kane plays soccer for Penrith RSL, which the $100 voucher from the NSW Government helps cover. Her three-year-old son Mason goes to Little Kickers and will attend Little Athletics when the season starts but receives no funding.
“Having these Active Kids Vouchers have been paramount in giving my children opportunities to try new sports and activities. It has really helped with the cost of lessons for sport and swimming, but it should be opened up to younger children too,” Ms Winser said.
“A child’s core values have been established by the time they’re six, so if you make activity the norm then it will be more likely to continue into their adult life and promote confidence.”
The ‘Active Kids Start Younger’ page has received over 600 likes of support in a week, with parents commenting the main benefit would be for swimming lessons for children as young as nine-months-old.
“The vouchers are being trialled for four years, but I’d love to see this continue, not just in NSW but Australia-wide,” Ms Winser said.
“So many families will benefit, even just using the vouchers for swimming lessons could save lives.”
Minister for Sport, John Sidoti, told the Weekender the vouchers have been successful, and they are open to increasing this help for families in the future.
“Active Kids aims to increase participation in sport and active recreation for NSW Primary and Secondary enrolled school children by offsetting costs associated with registration, membership, and participation fees,” Mr Sidoti said.
“Since the launch of Active Kids almost one million vouchers have been redeemed, with the NSW Government introducing a second $100 voucher from July 1 2019 to help reduce the cost of living for families and encourage school children to play sport and be active.”
Ms Winser wants to take their message to members of parliament. To show your support, visit www.facebook.com/activekidsstartyounger.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers community news and entertainment for the Western Weekender.