One of Connect2sport’s primary school hubs was Mount Roskill Grammar School (MRGS). A review of school enrolment data showed that the school population was extremely diverse. In recognition that school aged migrant youth sometimes struggle to access sport, free lunch time badminton sessions were offered in school during lunchtime. These sessions were well attended and during feedback sessions participants noted how much they enjoyed the relaxed, friendly environment. The range of participant ages had resulted in friendships forming across different levels in the school, something that would not have happened without the programme. Many participants spoke of gained confidence and self-esteem, in addition to improving their badminton skills.
In addition to these outcomes, participants also showed a desire to play in a more structured environment and yet many participants noted that it was unlikely they would progress through to club membership. Further consultation found this was because of a variety of perceived barriers such as cost, limited time and difficulty committing to playing on certain days/times.
Connect2sport and the Auckland Badminton Association (ABA) went about adapting Badminton’s existing participation model to remove these barriers. An afterschool badminton programme was developed and held at MRGS. This programme provided a pathway for lunchtime participants wanting to play with slightly more structure. The school partly subsidised student fees removing the barrier of cost and delivering the programme at the school removed any barriers associated with location and playing times.
Most participants at the lunch time sessions also wanted to develop their badminton skills but did acknowledge that they could not expect too much in terms of coaching when the programme was provided for free. Coaching was therefore introduced at the afterschool sessions as well as competition. This provided further incentive to attend the programme. ABA also established a satellite club at MRGS on Saturday mornings. A new junior ‘Tigers’ is also to be launched and a discounted rate has been agreed with MRGS and all money generated will go back to into badminton sessions within the school.
ABA now offers a range of unique and tailored offerings for diverse communities each with different levels of complexity. It is now easier for members of the diverse community within Mt Roskill to transition up the pathway to play, moving from casual play towards club membership