News | 4 March 2021

Breaking down barriers to recreation

Breaking down barriers both with cost and inclusiveness to make access to sport, recreation and activity easier for many, is what Wellington City Council’s LeisureCard is all about.

Members from Spectrum Care, all dressed in lovely bright clothing, wearing their pink registration bibs and smiling as a group while taking part in Round the Bays.

That’s according to Community Project Specialist Aashif Sacha, who says the LeisureCard was created to ensure that everybody gets equitable access to recreation in Wellington.

“Through this scheme, we empower our communities that may have felt barriers to recreational activities before.”

The Council has partnered up with 30 organisations, with members receiving a LeisureCard which enables them discounted access to all council-owned recreation facilities.

And for the first time, LeisureCard-holders also received discounts to the recent Round the Bays fun run. More than 20 members from Sport Wellington, Spectrum Care (pictured above), and Dsport were able to take part.

Charlotte Pybus, a staff member from Spectrum Care, says it was inspiring seeing so many different groups from the community get involved, and she was proud to see everyone giving it their all.

She says the LeisureCard has been extremely beneficial.

“It means people are more willing to try new things at local services, as activities are discounted. People we support are also swimming more and taking part in more physical activity.”

Imogen enjoyed her first time taking part in the race.

“It was really good, I did some groovy dancing around the bays on the way!”

Four members from Dsport, one boy in a sports wheelchair and a man and two other children all smiling and crouching around him, on the road near Wellington city Lagoon at the start line of the Round the Bays fun run.

A Dsport spokesperson says having their members (pictured above) engaged in events such as Round the Bays creates a wonderful opportunity to advocate and educate the wider community about disability and disability sport.

“Seeing our members being welcomed into the event and treated the same as everyone else provides us with pride. We believe opportunities such as this help Dsport and our members breakdown the stigma of being ‘disabled’.

“They're not disabled – society creates barriers which disable them. The Round the Bays is an event which doesn't do this – it is enabling and we celebrate this."

Aashif says positive feedback from participants also included an 11-year-old boy who was proud of running his fastest time at the event, and a participant’s mother who says she was heartened her child was able to take part alongside everyone else.

He says the Council is always looking for new organisations to partner with on the LeisureCard scheme.

“We’re especially interested in organisations that support individuals or whānau through interpersonal support from social workers, and also organisations that offer medium-term support – in that there are several meaningful touchpoints with a client, but also some defined wellbeing outcomes that you are working towards,” Aashif says.

LeisureCard members receive a 50 percent discount on casual entry to our swimming pools and recreation centres, and a 20 percent discount to recreation centre programmes, swimming lessons with SwimWell, and Club Active gym memberships and casual classes.

LeisureCard members also receive a quarterly newsletter which shares tips about being active and staying healthy as well as information on upcoming programmes and events around the city.

And Wellington Zoo and Zealandia are currently offering concession rates to LeisureCard members.

For more information visit our LeisureCard webpage, or contact Aashif Sacha by email aashif.sacha@wcc.govt.nz if you want to find out how your organisation can get involved.