KDC PR SPARC Rural Travel Fund KDC PR SPARC Rural Travel Fund CREDIT: SPARC

KDC PR SPARC Rural Travel Fund

Tuesday 14 April 2009, 3:26PM

Young Kaipara sportspeople are being offered more than $10,000 of assistance to help them gain the benefit of playing in organised competitions.

Kaipara District Council is one of only three councils nationally to be included in the SPARC Rural Travel Fund which is funded by Central Government and provides money to subsidise travel for junior teams, aged five to 19 years, to help them participate in local competitions.

Previous grants have helped reduce isolation for youngsters living in places like Pouto by subidising their travel to play in Dargaville and have been credited with getting many more Pouto children into weekend sport. They have also helped children travel to competitions outside Kaipara when there are none here.

Kaipara District Council has $10,125 for distribution and is seeking applications from Kaipara residents or organisations by Wednesday 6 May 2009. Forms are available from the Dargaville or Kaiwaka offices, from Kaipara District Council Private Bag 1001, Dargaville or our website Applications will be considered by a committee comprising Iwi, Council, Sport Northland and community representatives.

Last year seven Kaipara organisations were helped by grants ranging from $500.00 to $2,125.00. They included Pouto School children, Dargaville High School Soccer and Rugby Teams, the Dargaville Under 16 Rugby Team, Northern Wairoa Soccer Club’s Under-14 side, Otamatea Hawks Under 15 Rugby Team, Otamatea High School Hockey and other teams.

Northern Wairoa Soccer Club received help to allow its Under 14 team to take part in the Northland-wide competition and spokesman Steve Smith says the Rural Travel Fund grants were a big help.

“Players need competition to grow their skills and it’s also character building,” he says. “But there weren’t enough 14 and 15 year-olds in Dargaville. We had about 39 in that age group and each week we sent one of three teams to Whangarei so everyone got experience playing there.

“SPARC doesn’t cover the total cost but it certainly helps, especially for parents who are struggling.”