People from culturally diverse backgrounds often face barriers that can prevent their participation in physical activity and sports. Sports clubs can reduce these barriers by taking steps to make their clubs more accessible, welcoming and inclusive.
To support sports clubs, Monash Health, the Centre for Multicultural Sport (CMSport), City of Casey, City of Greater Dandenong, and Cardinia Shire Council collaborated to develop and deliver a series of interactive Forums for community sports clubs.
Forum 1 was held online and was an education session aimed at improving clubs’ cultural awareness.
Forum 2 comprised one in-person session for each of the local government areas. The aim of Forum 2 was to enable clubs to: (1) reflect on their current practices, (2) establish an action plan to engage cultural communities, and (3) explore connections with cultural organisations in their local communities.
A total of forty-four attendees from community sports clubs plus two cultural organisations participated in the three Forums.
The forums led to:
Following the Forums, Monash Health staff will provide one-on-one support to Forum attendees to assist them to implement their action plans.
The Monash Health – Health Promotion team ran the second annual health promotion awards to celebrate the work of community champions from within the settings the team works with on various health promotion initiatives. Many of the changes within settings would not be possible without the time, dedication and passion put in by community champions. These awards are an opportunity to recognise the commitment and thank the individuals and teams in working to make positive health and wellbeing changes for the community.
The awards event was held in November 2022 at Lynbrook Community Centre and saw approximately 44 individuals and teams from a variety of settings come together to celebrate success. The health promotion team works with settings such as sports clubs, early years services, schools, recreation facilities, Out of School Hours Care providers and the Oromo Community. There were 5 categories of awards covering these settings, with a winner from each setting. Additional categories were added for the 2022 awards with winners for each of the key health priority areas of: healthy eating, increasing active living and reducing tobacco related harm.
The health promotion awards will be an ongoing annual event, integral in recognising the contribution of community champions.
The Monash Health – Health Promotion team are piloting The Alternate Leisure Initiative. This research project has been approved by the Monash Health Ethics Committee and has received funding from VicHealth to provide the community with free or low-cost entry/vouchers to participating businesses.
The Alternate Leisure Initiative supports physical activity/active recreation businesses in the Casey, Cardinia and Greater Dandenong region to make healthy changes to create more accessible and inclusive places for the community to be physically active. Businesses can choose to work on inclusion or healthy eating. This project was created from current physical activity trends, with less community members engaging in traditional sports there is a need for promotion of ‘alternative’, fun and social physical activities.
Alternate leisure businesses are defined as: dance studios; aerial studios; children’s play centres; water parks; children’s farms; rock climbing centres, and more.
There are eight businesses registered for the pilot. Once businesses have implemented 25% of actions from their action plan, Monash Health purchases entry fees/vouchers for the community to use. On the first of every month the community can apply for free or low-cost entry/vouchers to try one of the activities. The first round of vouchers sold out after only six days, showing the need for this initiative in the community.
GO Soccer Mums is an introductory football program where all women (not just mums) can learn basic football skills and be active in a fun, social and judgement-free environment. Compared to the state average, Greater Dandenong has lower rates of physical activity, particularly among women.
Monash Health’s come and try session was held at Ross Reserve, Noble Park in May 2023, supported by City of Greater Dandenong, Centre for Multicultural Youth, Reclink and Football Victoria. The session was delivered by a female deliverer, free for all participants, close to public transport, and concluded with a free healthy lunch.
A total of 5 women from different cultural backgrounds participated. Everyone responded that they learnt a new skill, had lots of fun, felt safe, comfortable, and socially connected with other participants, and experienced a sense of achievement. All participants valued the opportunity and would love more sessions to get their friends and community groups involved.
Monash Health will explore an ongoing program with partners and may replicate this model.
Topics included: Healthy Choices and the traffic light system, balanced lunchboxes, fad diets, balanced workplace meals, fussy eating, allergies, fun with fruit and food to fuel sport.
Results: Across the training sessions, 95% of survey respondents asked, reported their knowledge on the healthy eating topics presented on had increased as a result of the training, 94% reported they learned something new at the training sessions, 86% reported their confidence on at least one of the healthy eating topics covered had increased as a result of the training.
In their own words (comments from training attendees)
As a result of attending Monash Health’s Nutrition workshop, I will:
Making an impact
3 months after various nutrition training workshop, participants said:
How training impacted our team: According to the health promotion team, the most significant change that came about as a result of nutrition training offered to community settings was that it led to setting engagement in core health promotion work, resulting in high impact outcomes and sustainability of changes, creating momentum and enabling further reach and tangible outcomes for the families of the service.
Other changes reported as a result of the healthy eating sessions included: increased knowledge and confidence of staff/volunteers on the topics presented (100% of staff reported this); existing setting became more engaged as a result of the training (66%), setting staff/volunteers more knowledgeable in area of training (100%), setting staff/volunteers became more confident in area of training (66%), training reinforced messages HP practitioners have been giving settings (66%), better relationship between health promotion team and setting (66%), and enabled setting to meet an action area of relevant HP framework (33%).