Levelling the playing field

Dean, Amber, Zach, Chris, Simon, Paige, Kat, Paula and Dylan from Aligned Leisure. 182727_01 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

Working within the physical activity space, Aligned Leisure has been focused on building community resilience through sport.

As Aligned Leisure’s Paige Kristalyn explains, sport is an opportunity for people to be equally respected and valued at all levels.

“As soon as you get out onto that court nothing matters outside of that game; when you’re in a team the same rules apply to everyone and everyone gets a fair turn,” Paige said.

“Along with health and fitness, sport promotes social cohesion and equal opportunity which is transferrable into everyday life.

“A good example of this, for instance, is that our Under 8’s and Under 10’s basketball teams are mixed, which teaches kids to work together and respect one another from a young age.”

Aligned Leisure is involved with a range of community activities in local schools and clubs that help shape a healthy, active and socially engaged community.

“Our programs teach kids about a range of things, from physical activity and nutrition through to diversity, resilience and mindfulness.

“We try to instil ideas around respectful relationships through those programs to promote equality both on and off the court.”

Aligned Leisure is also adopting the White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation Program, which recognises workplaces that are taking active steps to stop violence against women.

“We have around 150 staff that are all being trained through the program and can take that knowledge and awareness home to their families and their wider community.

“We are really focused on advocating for gender equality and promoting ourselves as a safe and inclusive environment.

“We currently have more women enrolled as members as men, and with the introduction of the AFLW we’re seeing so many more women and girls signing up to participate.”

Paige’s own studies in the health sector have ignited her passion for gender equity.

“I studied Public Health and Health Promotion and am really passionate about equal opportunities and preventative health.

“In the past there has been a huge focus on demands for funding services for after the fact, but preventative health focuses on preventing these things happening so that we don’t have to have those services.

“I think the whole idea and process of Together We Can is just brilliant; by creating community solutions rather than imposing ‘rules’ onto the community we have a more sustainable and holistic way of reducing the amount of family violence occurring in Cardinia.”

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