- Raising funds
- Harm prevention
- About us
- Raising funds
- Harm prevention
- About us
“Growing up WORD was a huge part of my life. As a young person it gave me confidence in myself and helped flow through to other aspects of my life. It's really exciting that WORD is growing and is now in Christchurch. As part of the instructor team here, I can now support and empower other young people to gain confidence and find a place for themselves.” - Izzy Sloane, a WORD kid from Wellington, a youth leader Assistant Instructor, now studying at the University of Canterbury and part of the Instructor team in Ōtautahi.
“WORD has given me the confidence to just go out and ride wherever, to always believe in myself, but also that it’s okay to walk away and save it for another day.” - Kiera, a twelve year old Wellington girl who has been part of WORD for three years.
These were just a couple of reactions about the news that NZCT has granted $50,000 to support the expansion of WORD youth mountain bike adventures to Ōtautahi, Christchurch.
Christchurch Programme Manager Katie Adams, says -
World Off-road Riding Department (WORD) is 'youth mountain bike charity' founded in 2013 on a mission to save the world one ride at a time. We provide after school programmes, holiday camps, youth leadership opportunities, and events for 7-17 year old tamariki & rangatahi.
This amazing funding from NZCT will literally change the lives of many young people in Ōtautahi through our organisation. It will create a lasting impact across the community, building confidence, encouraging new friendships, and fostering a lifelong love of mountain biking and the outdoors. We will now be able to increase both the quantity and quality of opportunities available to young people to participate in mountain biking by establishing:
New WORD foundation programmes (after school programmes and holiday camps).
Two new community events that increase our exposure and engagement with young people - Whānau Fun Day, Friendship Festival.
More co-designed opportunities for girls and young women to participate in biking in a safe space, where they can be themselves and stay active in a fun way.
New opportunities for young people that might otherwise miss out (engagement in low decile schools, new programmes in East Christchurch).
We applied to NZCT for seed funding to help kickstart the WORD Ōtautahi youth mountain bike programme, an expansion of the highly successful and award winning charitable organisation in Wellington and Wanaka.
WORD Ōtautahi, like all of our locations, is dependent on community funding to kickstart the initial costs to deliver our operations and programmes. We are passionate about having a fully self-sufficient organisation, but we know it takes time to build up participant numbers. Once we hit 150 kids, we are fully sustainable and no longer reliant on external funding for our foundation programmes.
This grant supports the salaries of two key roles in Christchurch, the Programme Manager and the Instructor Coordinator, specifically working with our young instructors. It will not only enable WORD to continue to grow and provide our foundation programmes to young people in Ōtautahi, but also enable us to connect deeper into our communities and understand how we can improve access to mountain biking for young people.
The WORD whānau believes in equity in order to reduce the barriers to participation, embracing change through honesty and kindness, and building connections within our community and environment. We are committed and passionate about developing new friendships, creating awesome experiences that build youth confidence, and fostering a life-long love of mountain biking.
WORD Founder / CEO Ash Peters adds -
WORD was established nearly ten years ago in Wellington and has changed the make-up of the mountain biking community. Over the last decade, we has grown and developed a new generation of mountain bikers, greatly increasing the diversity of the mountain biking community.
There are currently there over four hundred kids in our after school programmes across three locations, three hundred kids riding during the holidays, eighty instructors, and forty assistant instructors in Aotearoa.
Through ingrained core values, thoughtful programming, and an evidence based youth centred approach, WORD has redefined what an impactful youth sport and recreation organisation can look like.
After many community requests for WORD to come to Christchurch, we are now in a position to scale up and establish a local programme. Christchurch has an existing network of awesome trails, a passionate biking community and a huge population of diverse young people. We also have people on the ground in key roles who are committed, experienced, and passionate about creating awesome experiences to build youth confidence, develop new friendships, and foster a life-long love of mountain biking.
WORD is addressing inequities and breaking down barriers to ensure that everyone that wants to participate in mountain biking has the access and opportunity. This includes two priority areas we’ve identified for Christchurch - working in new and diverse communities across Ōtautahi, targeting East Christchurch, and more young women and girls. We know from Sport NZ research and our own community engagement that both groups face a number of additional barriers to participate.
We partner with organisations that repurpose pre-loved bikes, we run local programmes and encourage carpooling to help with transport difficulties, we have a Facebook page where families can buy, swap, and sell equipment, and we offer free and heavily discounted registration fees whenever cost is a barrier to young people participating.
We delivered a pilot programme in Christchurch earlier last year (in 2022) with support from Sport Canterbury and the Tū Manawa fund, which provided great local feedback. Further engagement and partner organisation insights identified a huge need for a holistic, youth-centered programme like WORD in this community.
We are already building momentum, testing out new ideas and offerings in the community, and are keen to continue growing our already fully-fledged foundation programmes and targeted opportunities.
We’ve recently won the Regional / National Community Impact Award Bat at the 2022 Sport and Recreation Awards, hosted by Sport NZ / Ihi Aotearoa, acknowledging our ability to connect in our communities and make a significant difference to the lives of our young people in NZ.