Prevention: The Name of the Game

 Health Promoting Sports Clubs/Workplaces & Alcohol Harm Reduction

In the Canterbury region, tennis and rugby league are two codes that share club rooms - yet may have little else in common. This month, however, Tennis Canterbury and Canterbury Rugby League are teaming up - taking a proactive approach to alcohol management.

The Regional Sports Organisations (RSOs), along with their respective clubs, have embraced an opportunity initiated by Community and Public HealthCanterbury District Health Board (CDHB) and supported by Christchurch City Council (CCC), Canterbury Rugby League, Canterbury Tennis, Sport Canterbury and Healthy Families Christchurch.

In October, 11 tennis clubs and two rugby league clubs attended a workshop held at Wilding Park, the second of its kind in the Canterbury region this year. Workshops will be replicated in the future to engage as many sports codes as possible, according to Anna Thorpe of the CDHB. Workshops focus on improving club culture in sports clubs, complying with law to reduce problematic drinking and increasing club sustainability by offering a safe, supportive environment for families. Clubs are often partially reliant on the sale of alcohol for revenue.

Attendance at the workshops has shown that sports clubs are interested in running their clubs in line with good practice and the 2012 Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, so they have fewer problems with alcohol in their clubs and on the sidelines. The new Game Plan resources from the Health Promotion Agency 

are promoted at the workshops along with locally developed templates for club alcohol policies and club alcohol management plans, and ongoing support to help develop them.

According to Adam Gard'ner of Canterbury Tennis: “We are grateful to be able to provide this alcohol management workshop for our community, and to share the workshop with Canterbury Rugby League. Community and Public Health, CCC, Sport Canterbury and Healthy Families Christchurch have created very helpful workshop content, which provides ourselves as the RSO and our clubs with guidelines for managing alcohol licenses and bars appropriately, managing responsible drinking and risk, and encouraging a safe sports club environment."

Dave Jeffrey, Manager of Healthy Families Christchurch, notes that club members are seen as important role models for younger players, and their behaviour sets an example, both on and off the court or field.

"Given our place within the wider Sport Canterbury team as part of a Regional Sports Trust network, it was a natural step for us help identify this opportunity."

"We know clubs have to survive," says Jeffrey. "Our role is about education and support - giving sports the tools to put guidelines in place."

If you are interested in participating in future workshops to manage alcohol in your sports club, please get in touch with Healthy Families Christchurch Manager Dave Jeffrey: 

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