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NSW winners announced in 2021 Active Australia Innovation Challenge
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NSW winners announced in 2021 Active Australia Innovation Challenge

Media Release – 12 August 2021

The Heart Foundation today announced the NSW winners in its 2021 Active Australia Innovation Challenge.

The challenge invited tertiary institutions, schools, councils and other organisations to submit innovative ideas for getting people in their communities moving. The winners will each get a grant of $10,000 to make their project a reality.

Of the 19 winners across Australia this year, the following are from NSW:

Project name: Fit Kits
Organisation: Emmaville Central School
This project is the brainchild of Laura Carter, a Year 11 student in the Northern Tablelands town of Emmaville. Knowing her community has limited access to physical activity facilities and services, Laura came up with the idea purchasing and packing easy-to-use, portable and safe fitness equipment into mobile containers. Community members will be able to borrow these “Fit Kits” from the school (at no cost), allowing them to be more healthy and physically active at home. For people who don’t have Internet access, the kits will also contain fitness tutorials. Laura wrote the entire submission for this idea herself.

Project name: Rainbow Families Sports Carnival Series
Organisation: Rainbow Families
Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have been discriminated against, bullied or harassed while playing sport. As a result, some do not feel comfortable doing mainstream sport or signing up their children for sport. The Rainbow Families Sports Carnival Series will provide a fun, safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ parents and their families to get active together and try out different sports, such as cricket and tennis. Weekend carnivals will be held in Sydney's Inner West, Penrith and Macarthur, as well as Newcastle and the Illawarra, with a total of about 450 people expected to participate.

Project name: Uncle Goes for a Walk
Organisation: Giilangyaldhaanygalang
Giilangyaldhaanygalang is an Albury-based business. Its First Nations owners are focused on teaching Wiradjuri language and culture. This grant will be used to produce a short video called “Uncle Goes for a Walk: You’ll be Surprised Where Walking Can Take You”. It will promote walking as a means of exercise and social connection, with a cast of First Nations community members. Produced by an all-female First Nations creative crew of Ruth Davys, Dr Pettina Love and Jess Love, the video will be played in waiting rooms at local Aboriginal Medical Services.

Project name: Tailored Tai Chi
Organisation: Upper Hunter Shire Council
This grant will be used to provide 10 free weekly Tai Chi sessions in Merriwa, Murrurundi and Scone, along with training for an instructor to continue the program in each town. Council chose Tai Chi because it is gentle and can be tailored to most participants, while also improving balance, mobility and lower body strength. The project will target community members who do not typically meet physical activity guidelines, including seniors; people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds; and people living with a disability.
The Heart Foundation received 619 entries in this year’s challenge. This is double the number of 2020 entries and almost five times the number submitted for the first challenge in 2018.

“The initiative has been growing in popularity year-on-year, but even we were surprised by the huge number of entries received for this year’s challenge,” said the Heart Foundation’s NSW & ACT Heart Health Manager, Anna Flynn.

“The Heart Foundation could not be more pleased by the increased participation, given around two-thirds of people in NSW are not active enough for good heart health. This is a real concern, because being inactive is a risk factor for heart disease, our state’s single leading cause of death.

“One reason for the spike in entries could be that the pandemic has sparked interest in physical activity at a grass-roots level. Being stuck at home for long periods is making everyone appreciate their communities more and think creatively about ways to stay healthy and active.

“Over the four years we’ve been running this challenge, the Heart Foundation has awarded grants to 45 organisations, including 12 in NSW. A big congratulations to all this year’s winners. We look forward to working closely with you to bring your projects to life.”

The Active Australia Innovation Challenge is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

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