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Second-year bachelor of social services student Carla Hore dreamed up the idea of the project, titled ``Up's for Kids'', which is being undertaken as part of a polytechnic sustainability paper.
The project aims to improve ``children's physical and psychological health through sport'', and involves a fun playing and coaching session, followed by giving the sports balls used to the participating youngsters.
The project aimed to give ``a hand up rather than a handout'', she said.
The five social services students had thrown themselves into the project and she was enjoying the mix of academic study and helping make a difference to the lives of young people.
The idea was to provide sports gear to youngsters who might not have access to it at home.
Encouraging them to switch from computer game screens to more ``running around'' outside could potentially have big benefits for physical health and mental wellbeing.
She was delighted to take possession last week of about 50 donated rugby and other balls, including netballs, many of which had been gathered for the project by Constable Toni Wall, of Dunedin, Mrs Hore said.
This week, some youngsters at Bathgate Park School would be offered some sports training, and then be given balls to allow them to continue the fun either alone or in groups.
``You can just have fun by yourself, and that can be great for your mental wellbeing,'' she said.