Belgravia Leisure, the Australian and New Zealand Leisure Centre management company, has earned two awards at Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) VIC/TAS Awards night. The awards included the Strategic Planning Award for their Access and Inclusion five-year plan award and Community Based Initiative of the Year for their Take Charge® and Youth Take Charge® programs.
It is Belgravia Leisure’s vision that all Australians have equitable access and inclusion in services, programs and facilities, embedded within the Australian ethos of a ‘fair go’.
Many people still experience exclusion from leisure, identifying this and using an evidence-based approach, Belgravia Leisure have developed and resourced an innovative five-year strategic plan to rectify this inequity.
“As an organisation we have embraced Access and Inclusion and in doing so created a Coordinator position at every leisure centre, ensuring we are supporting the diverse community and people with a disability,” said Nick Cox CEO of Belgravia Leisure.
“We see it as our responsibility to do all we can to connect those in need to the health and happiness benefits through regular use of their local leisure centre. I congratulate our local teams in the delivery of this vision.”
Belgravia Leisure’s identification of the serious service gaps that prevent people with mental illness accessing locally available best-practice programs lead to the development of their Take Charge programs.
These programs are evidence-based, confirmed through trials as creating improved health and happiness for those with mental illness. The pilot stage of the Take Charge has already generated $667,461 in social value, supporting over 300 adults and teenagers with fitness, health and wellbeing.
Recognising the program’s potential, Belgravia Foundation, a charity focused on reducing barriers to participation in sport, aquatic, fitness, recreation and health programs, is implementing Take Charge across Australia and New Zealand, leading the work on refinement, research and scale up into the industry.
“After the success of this pilot, we are looking to launch the Take Charge program nationally across 120 leisure centres Belgravia Leisure manages,” said Dr. Jeff Walkley, CEO of the Belgravia Foundation.
“Mental illness is widespread across Australia and New Zealand, particularly among younger people. By promoting Access and Inclusion and understanding the unique support needs of this group, it’s a great opportunity to contribute to the health of people in our communities.”
“Exercise is an effective intervention in a range of mental health disorders. There is evidence that it reduces symptoms of depression and might even prevent the development of depression in children,” supports Alison Yung, Professor of Psychiatry, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne.
“What we need to do is to get better at engaging people with mental health disorders in exercise, and this is where the Take Charge program comes in.”
Like to learn more about Belgravia Leisure’s Take Charge program?