RSV celebrates 30 years

As the peak body that supports rural and regional community sport and recreation in Victoria, Regional Sport Victoria (RSV) does so with the benefit of longevity, experience and dedication. And here it stands, celebrating 30 years of operation with a long history of committed leaders and a loyal team of staff and volunteers – sharing a vision to invigorate and support community sport.

RSV was incorporated in December 1993 following the formation of the network of nine Regional Sports Assemblies (RSA’s) that came into existence after the release 10 years earlier of the ‘Sport in Victoria’ policy paper. This paper, which covered all future aspects of planning, development and funding for sport, recognised many areas and groups which had long been neglected.

Over the past 30 years, RSV has served as a representative alliance that facilitates, builds, advocates and guides RSA’s in their pursuits to develop a strong and equitable sport and recreation sector. As part of this important work, RSV hosts regular meetings with RSAs to ensure networking opportunities, information sharing and assistance to deliver programs.

Throughout RSV’s existence, it has operated as a representative network of the member organisations run by a Board. Until recently, the RSV Board consisted of executive members appointed from the membership. Michael Flynn (former chair of RSV from 2015 – 2019) continues in his role as Executive Officer for Sports Central and believes that the role that RSV has to play in the sector continues to be a significant one.

“Throughout my term, there was a mandate for the Board to move RSV from a network of regional sports assemblies to a more contemporary governance and business model,” he said.

“It was a move that would ultimately give RSV more scope to grow and increase its role in the Victorian Sport and Recreation sector.

“The Board had determined that significant change was necessary and with the help of major funding partners, VicHealth and Sport and Recreation Victoria, RSV engaged a strategic consultant to review its organisational structure and core purpose to become a reputable peak body in sport and recreation for regional Victoria.

“A key milestone for RSV was to secure a further multi-year investment that would enable us to appoint our first-ever General Manager. This was the first step in giving the organisation significant capacity to progress our strategic priorities and establish a bigger brand in the sector.”

In April 2020, Cassandra Hadson was appointed the inaugural General Manager who reported to the Board and was responsible for all areas of business, including strategic planning and development. This provided a new foundation for growth and improved services to its members , the RSA’s.

In the past few months, there have been further changes to the structure of RSV. The Board has exercised its right for the first time to appoint directors and has announced the welcome addition of four directors. Together with existing directors, the Board is now a full cabinet for the first time. This new wheelhouse of skill, dedication and future focus will deliver positive outcomes for the network of nine RSAs and benefit the entire recreational community.

For newly appointed Chair, Carissa Harris, it is an exciting time with a new board coming together to lead RSV through the next phase of organisational development.

“This is such an incredible group working together on the strategic direction of the organisation, and we are really looking forward to working closely with all of the RSAs and taking RSV to new levels in 2024 and beyond,” Harris said.

“The past 30 years of growth and development through RSV has paved the way for what lies ahead, and there is so much to be done to help grow, promote and develop sport in regional Victorian communities.

“The foundations have been set, and while there is a mountain of work to be done, we have a wonderful team in place to make it happen – led by our fantastic Executive Officer, Meghan Mayman.”

The RSV team brings a wide range of skills, experience and connections into 2024.

“RSV continues to strengthen relationships across the whole sport and active recreation sector, where there is a growing need for connection, advocacy and support,” Mayman said.

“RSV is championing the work of the RSA’s through promotion while collaborating to create pathways for participation at all levels of community sport.”

As RSV celebrates the 30-year milestone, the team has a renewed focus on breaking down barriers to participation in community sport across regional Victoria.

“I am particularly proud of RSV’s work to improve gender equity in sport, particularly the Change Makers program that RSV are collaborating with Football Victoria and Victoria University, as well as our support of the Fair Access Roadmap in conjunction with the RSA’s,” Mayman added.

“As a peak body, we have a responsibility to serve not only the RSA’s but also to achieve growth and recognition to positively influence Victoria’s extensive network of 8,500 community-based sport and recreation clubs.”

“This moment is a marker of things to come for RSV in response to the strategic partnerships and community building that have been nurtured over the years.”

The year ahead will be busy for RSV, and the path ahead for the next 30 years is a bright one. It’s important to stop, pause, take a break and to reflect and celebrate the achievements leading into RSV’s 30th birthday.

Then time to roll up the sleeves and keep the momentum going.