Queensland families can now get $150 to help get their kids back into sport under a special round of the State Government's Fair Play vouchers.
Applications for payments under the scheme, which was announced in May, opened this week.
The vouchers can be used towards a sporting club membership, registration or participation fees and must be redeemed by November.
Who is eligible?
Parents, carers or guardians can apply for a voucher valued up to $150 for their child, to be used towards a sport or active recreation membership.
There's a limit of one voucher per child per calendar year.
You can apply if your child:
- Is a Queensland resident aged from 5 to 17 years (inclusive) at the time of application
- Did not receive a FairPlay voucher this year
- Holds, or whose parent, carer or guardian holds, a valid Department of Human Services Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card with the child's name on it.
The activity also has to be registered with the scheme.
Families that don't meet those criteria but are experiencing financial hardship can apply through a referral agent.
Local clubs need to survive
Benjamin Tom from the Hervey Bay Football club said it was a crucial step to keeping clubs operating.
"The vouchers really do enable a lot of people that can't normally afford to play one or two sports with their kids if they've got multiple kids," he said
"It makes a massive difference to the sport being able to be held and be run."
Mr Tom said about 40 per cent of the junior players in his region would make use of the vouchers.
"The way that the economy is going and the strain that everybody has on their family household is a huge issue," he said.
"People are cutting back anywhere they can afford to; just to make sure they've got enough for the essentials and sport unfortunately will probably be one of those cut backs.
"But having the FairPLay vouchers is something that allows the kids to be still involved in the sports and participate and make it a little bit more affordable for the parents."
Keeping the economy going
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new vouchers would coincide with the resumption of full contact community sport.
"These vouchers not only help struggling families but also provide a mini-stimulus for the economy," she said.
"It's all part of our plan to help the economy recover and get life back to normal as much as possible."
More than 4,500 clubs were registered to receive the 73,000 FairPlay vouchers on offer.
Getting ready to hit the pitch
Dr Richard Keegan, an associate professor in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Canberra, said parents transitioning their children back into sport needed to consider the risks, but also the benefits.
"They span not just physical but also psychological and social," he said.
He said children returning to sport after a long period of inactivity might find it hard to cope with not being as good as they were before the shutdown.
"The transition now for most of us, kids included, is to actually lower our expectations a little bit of where we are now compared to where we were before," he said.
"We probably can't lift as much, run as fast, play as long as we could.
"That's completely fine and natural, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up if we have to ease off just to get back into it."
He said parents should try to focus on the non-performance or results aspects of the sport to help their children adjust.
"A lot of people after they've finished a sporting career will say what it gave me was communication, leadership, self-awareness. It helped me to deal with stress differently and I never made it to the top, but it was a really great experience," he said.
"I think this is the moment to pause and make sure that we're extracting all those gorgeous benefits other than just winning or getting medals or being demonstrably good at a skill.
"The questions most of us are encouraged to ask of our kids when they come back from sport is not; did you win, but did you have a good time and did you enjoy it."
Along with dealing with the potential emotional challenges of returning to sport Dr Keegan said parents also needed to be aware of a heightened risk of injury after a long break.
"There are some reports from places where they opened up very quickly around the world, where a few unexpected injuries happened because people pushed too hard or thought they were still just as good as before," he said.
"I think easing ourselves back in is going to be important."