Kids vouchers available

By Olivia Duffey

Parents are being encouraged to get their children involved in sport, fitness and creative activities.

The Active Kids voucher and Creative Kids voucher programs allow parents to claim $100 vouchers for each school-aged child in their household.

The Active Kids program started in 2018 after it was found the majority of children and adolescents in NSW were not meeting the daily recommended levels of physical activity.

It offers a $100 voucher to help with the costs of organised sporting activities with registered providers.

Parents can also access  a $100 voucher per child participating in eligible creative and cultural learning activities.

The vouchers can be used to contribute to registration, participation and membership costs for activities.

South West Arts executive director Kerry-Anne Jones said it is a fantastic opportunity for families to support their children’s activities and interests, as well as their mental health and wellbeing.

‘‘Creative activities in particular are really good for innovation and creative thinking, so it gets children thinking a bit differently and doing some problem solving,’’ she said.

‘‘It is really good for mental health too, and there is a lot of research about the impacts of arts and what it can do for mental health and wellbeing.

‘‘It is also also good in the sense of community with children able to meet other children that they normally wouldn’t get to know.

‘‘And it is all provided in a safe and friendly environment, creating an opportunity for children to participate in things they would not normally get to do.’’

South West Arts is in the process of becoming a provider and will offer creative technology and art workshops once Coronavirus related restrictions further ease.

‘‘We are hoping to be able to run a whole heap of programs from the creative industry including a number of technology based activities, such as podcasting and graphic design, and art workshops,’’ Ms Jones said.

‘‘We are gearing up so once we can open face to face training again, which is expected to be in the second half of the year, people will be able to access the programs.’’

Every family in the district with a child enrolled in school from Kindergarten to Year 12 will be eligible for the Active and Creative Kids vouchers.

Many local providers are unable to run any activities at the moment due to Coronavirus, however there is an array of online programs available.

Anyone wishing to register as an Active or Creative Kids provider must do so at Registrations for vouchers are also available on the website.

■ Anyone requiring crisis support can contact NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511, Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14, BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800.