Sport BOP has worked hard to keep in touch and help to inspire active lifestyles within the community during a time of social distancing, and has been preparing for a "new normal".

Sport BOP operations and communication manager Melanie Short says many of Sport BOP's programmes such as school sport, GO4it and Green Prescription are now preparing for a 'new normal' to start in June.

"We anticipate face-to-face Green Prescription consultations and our lakefront walking group will recommence next month, provided it is safe to do so.

"Our school sport team is also working closely with schools, principal groups and regional sports organisations to plan for an appropriate return of school sport events.


"Our community sport team has also been working with local sport clubs to help them plan for the future and access emergency funding."

She says as alert level 4 approached its staff of 50, including 10 in Rotorua, began to work from home and have continued to do so throughout alert level 3 and into alert level 2 to some degree.

"Covid-19 very quickly changed the nature of our work given the limitations on sport, recreation and the ability to deliver school and health programmes face-to-face.

"Our team has embraced the challenge though by connecting with the community through video conferencing, the development of loads of website resources and a series of webinars."

Melanie says despite the limitations of working remotely, the Sport BOP team found many innovative ways to continue to deliver its services.

"Our physical skills educators developed a load of fun and engaging videos for primary school students participating in the GO4it fundamental skills programme."

She says typically the GO4it programme is delivered direct to students in schools, but they were able to take it online and the videos have been seen more than 3000 times.

"The need to work from home has certainly shown us the possibilities with flexible working arrangements and innovative service delivery.


"We all missed working in the same space as each other, and our Rotorua team has begun to return to the office since we moved to alert level 2."

She says being active plays such an important role in our physical and mental wellbeing - particularly under times of high stress.

"With most of us stuck at home during alert levels 4 and 3 we knew it was important to encourage people to remain physically active, so we developed a range of simple and fun activities that people of all ages could do at home."

Melanie says the response from the community had been great, with a lot of people checking out the resources online and thinking creatively about what they could do at home.

"Physical activity has a huge impact not only on our physical wellbeing, but also our mental wellbeing."

"Covid-19 has been a massive disruption to our daily lives and routines, and the social isolation and distancing has no doubt been very hard for many people.

"However, it's been really great to see the number of people and families out walking and riding.

"Although an incredibly hard period for all of us, I'm sure the lockdown also gave many of us a chance to reflect on what truly matters and provided some time to just slow down, mute some of the noise and explore our local neighbourhoods via foot or bike, or play with the kids in the backyard.

"I really hope we can hang on to many of those lessons and continue to find the time and value in being active as we return to our Monday to Friday routines."

Melanie says their health team also had to really think hard about how to support clients on its Green Prescription healthy lifestyle programme.