First Gas is running, passing, jumping, kicking and cycling alongside thousands of Taranaki secondary school students.

The Taranaki-based gas company has signed on as the headline partner of the Taranaki Secondary Schools’ Sports Association (TSSSA), which promotes sporting opportunities for the region’s secondary school students.

In partnership with 43 regional sports organisations, the TSSSA annually runs more than 40 sporting events, involving more than 4000 students across 14 schools from Patea to Waitara. It aims to be inclusive, encourages participation and offers sporting opportunities through access to a diverse range of sports.

First Gas, as a major employer in the region, recognises the importance of sport to the community, and to the health and emotional wellbeing of young people.

“We are a company of families, and many of our people have children who are involved in sport,” First Gas Chief Executive Paul Goodeve said.

“We like to support our people, and believe sport plays a key role in promoting a happy and healthy society. It provides valuable life-long lessons and experiences, and helps young people develop life skills such as teamwork, commitment, and negotiation.

“The TSSSA is a great organisation that does a fantastic job getting young people active in sport, so we are incredibly pleased to be able to support the work they do and look forward to working alongside them.”

The TSSSA, which is a registered charity, is reliant on community and corporate funding to operate.

“Our vision is that all Taranaki secondary school students participate in some form of physical activity as we believe that meaningful engagement in physical recreation is important to the development of a young person and is vital to a lifetime love of sport,” TSSSA Regional Sports Director Rebecca Scott said.

“This partnership is very important to TSSSA as First Gas are a major contributor to the wellbeing of the Taranaki community and we see our values are aligned around inclusivity and integrity in all aspects of our work within secondary school sport.

“First Gas’ support allows us to continue to offer a growing number of sports and events to young people throughout the region and ensures we can be fully inclusive – giving students at all ages and stages access to sport, whether it be competitive or participation-based,” she said.

“It will also provide us with resource to ensure we are developing our programmes to best fit the needs of youth.”