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Q&A


The CHIPs scheme targets inactive communities


CHIPs engages with over 6,000 members of the community each week, across programmes for children, the elderly, workplace activities and general community fi tness. We create the exercise opportunities and a structured programme, and we educate the group leaders. Each community has different needs and takes varying amounts of time to become self-suffi cient: some are self- suffi cient within six months while others continue to need help after 10 years. The programmes are not expensive to run: we get a community facility for free and the community makes the equipment themselves. People are charged a very nominal fee (about 5 Rand or 35 pence) to take part, which we charge simply to keep them accountable.


CHIPs has provided a model of sustainable implementation of physical activity in disadvantaged communities, positively impacting both quality of life and personal responsibility for health.


Can you explain SSISA’s approach to social change?


We call it social investment and have three channels through which we invest in social change: CHIPs, the Macsteel Maestros Programme, and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa. Macsteel Maestros provides support for those South African national athletes who are not able to perform at their full potential due to lack of access to medical support, appropriate training, coaching and equipment. The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is an international project


that has a South African chapter. This project is managed by SSISA and it currently supports 16 projects nationally, with the underlying principle of effecting social change through sport.


What have been SSISA’s most notable successes?


In the South African market, to be an independent facility with no government funding, providing the level of expertise that we do across the range of services on offer, is testament to the overall success of the facility.


The success of our commercial business units allows for the level of commitment we provide to our non- commercial activity. Our relationships with our commercial partners/sponsors are of major signifi cance, and the longevity of our relationship with them is testament to the success of the projects that we deliver. On an education level, in 2009 our education and training division partnered with our national soccer league to provide life skills training to every professional soccer player in the country. Many of the Premier League soccer players come from disadvantaged backgrounds and struggle to adjust to the environment once they become professional players. We put together a programme of life skills, including career guidance, dealing with the media, fi nancial management, drug-free sport, and social drug and alcohol use. An academic research project was linked to the programme and the results and impact were a resounding success.


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Our facility also hosted, assessed, trained and monitored numerous Olympic athletes in preparation for the London 2012 Games.


And academically, over the last 12 months, 58 scientifi c publications were produced in peer-reviewed journals, and ESSM researchers were cited 1,093 times by other scientists.


Are there any plans to further develop the offer?


SSISA has been involved in numerous international facility developments, consulting with them on appropriate assessment needs and providing structure to the business plan.


Locally, we’re looking to partner with organisations in the industry to channel our intellectual property into assisting the industry where we can, to grow through the implementation of best practice principles and evidence-based science.


What are the main challenges of running the institute?


Keeping the balance right between all the different services. We’re multi-faceted, and it’s crucial to remain world-class across all of those services.


What do you enjoy most about your job at SSISA?


The diversity: there are so many different disciplines that contribute to the value of the brand, and so many different types of relationships to build and manage. To get them to work together in a single direction is the most challenging and satisfying aspect. ●


March 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


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