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Sponsoring a healthier message

Junior sports promote healthier lifestyles, right? But many families can feel all that good work goes down the drain after the game because there just aren’t enough healthy food and drink choices on offer. Healthier Choices Canberra (HCC) is ready, set, go to change that.

The HCC junior sports program is all about getting more healthier food and drink options in sports club canteens and making sure kids and parents know about them.

The program is part of an ACT-wide initiative that’s encouraging Canberrans to be active and make healthier eating choices when out and about at all the places they usually go, like supermarkets, cafes, clubs, restaurants and sports canteens.

At a recent networking event on 23 November, the HCC initiative connected local sporting clubs with businesses around Canberra to chat about all things sponsorship.

Business and sports clubs came together to chat about promoting a healthier approach to junior sport in the ACT and sponsorship opportunities that align with that approach.

A HCC pilot program saw four of Canberra’s sporting codes and their junior clubs receive sponsorship training to strengthen and identify their values – and now they’re ready to partner with local businesses.

Sponsorship expert Vickie Saunders, founder of The Sponsorship Consultants, says businesses don’t have to have big bucks to get in on the sponsorship game.

“Now more than ever, sponsors and sports clubs are exploring a more holistic approach to sponsorship that takes into consideration all aspects of the sponsor’s business, from promotional and sales activities through to staff development and customer engagement,” she says.

According to Vickie, sponsorship has come a long way from the days of “putting a logo on a boundary fence” – now it’s about taking a holistic approach that explores what both parties can offer each other.

“When we look at sponsorship as being about exchanging value, sharing opportunities, resources and networks, then it opens it up to being relevant and valuable to every type and size of business.”

While some sponsors contribute financially, not all provide only cash.

“Many can contribute to the club through products, services, skills and other valuable ways,” she says.

“By aligning your business with a junior sports club, especially one that is part of the HCC initiative, it tells the world so many positive things about your business. It demonstrates that you care about health, kids, sport and community, and that will naturally attract people to your business.”

Businesses looking to align their brand with healthier messages in junior sport and partner with a local sporting club can register with HCC, who will help them to connect with likeminded local clubs.

For more information on HCC and junior sports sponsorship, visit health.act.gov.au/healthy-living/healthier-choices-canberra

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