Hunter sporting codes and businesses have urged the NSW government to continue the Active Kids voucher program, which has injected $38 million into the region over five years but is due to end this month.
More than 381,600 vouchers - worth $100 each - have been used in the Hunter since the program began in 2018, data shows.
The government has created about 577,000 vouchers for kids in the region since 2018, with 66 per cent of them used.
The Minns government has been under pressure to fulfil an election commitment and continue the active and creative kids' vouchers, both of which are funded until June 30.
The government said last month that the program was being reviewed amid budget restraints.
A NSW Office of Sport statement said the government was "considering options for the future of both the Active Kids and First Lap [swim] voucher programs, to support the participation of children in organised sport and active recreation".
Thousands of parents have used the vouchers to help pay for their kids' registration in team sports.
Newcastle Netball president Cheryl Hernando said the vouchers had been "used a great deal in netball".
"It would be great to see them extended. They give families the opportunity to keep their kids active and involved in sport," Mrs Hernando said.
Newcastle Soccer CEO Russell Henry said the vouchers had "been used very well in football".
"We'd like to see them continue on because they are a very good product. They're a good thing for sport in general," Mr Henry said.
Co-owner and coach of Newcastle-based Bike and Fitness, Jenny Enderby, said the vouchers "make a big difference".
"A lot of kids couldn't do a lot of sport if we didn't have them," Mrs Enderby said.
"We do get a lot of kids using them with our business. They're definitely very popular."
Mrs Enderby said the voucher program should be kept, particularly with rising interest rates.
"We have kids, too. From a parent's point-of-view, I think they're great.
"Some kids only come when they use their vouchers. If they didn't have the vouchers they probably won't come, which is sad."
Jackie Ryan, co-owner of Action Boxing & Fitness at Tighes Hill, said "we have dedicated kids' classes that run each school term that parents can use their vouchers for".
"We also have parents come in regularly with their high-school age sons or daughters to do our boxing fitness classes together," Mrs Ryan said.
She said any help encouraging kids to be active was "extremely beneficial".
"The cost of living has gone through the roof and sometimes extra activities get left out of the family budget.
"Kids get so much out of sport or any type of exercise. Research shows that being healthier and fitter reduces the blow to our health system."
She said exercise improved physical and mental health.
"Kids have a lot of things they have to deal with these days. If they can be encouraged to get into regular sport or physical activity, it helps improve their health," she said.
"If they find the right activity, it can help relieve stress and boost their self confidence too."
Learn to Surf Newcastle owner Miles Niddrie said he wished the voucher program would be extended.
"It's been fantastic. It's been a really good thing for my business, having kids be able to use $100 towards their surf lessons," Mr Niddrie said. "It was good for us from the minute it came in. A lot of people used them towards term programs and after-school surfing that's for sure."
Mr Niddrie said the government changed the regulations to allow the vouchers to be used for school holiday programs last December.
"That was even more beneficial," he said.
His programs teach kids board and water safety, including rip knowledge.
"It's all about building their confidence in the water and teaching vital skills that they can use for the rest of their life," he said.
Mrs Ryan said her boxing company helped kids release stress, and an end to the vouchers would be "horrible"
"If it's a problem with not having money in the budget to keep offering the vouchers, maybe they should look at getting more out of big businesses with CEOs that make more money than they could ever spend in their lifetime," she said.
"Or, stop giving tax exemptions to the big money-making Catholic churches, which are reportedly worth tens of billions of dollars.
"I know these are more federal than state issues, but the money has to trickle down from somewhere to get distributed to each state."
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