Diamond Valley United are set to receive new female-friendly change rooms in the coming weeks, after receiving a significant amount of funding from Banyule City Council and the Victorian Government.
The local council has put $400,000 towards the upgrades at Partington Flats, whilst the Victorian Government has put forward $250,000 through their World Game Facilities Fund.
The works are set to begin in the next couple of weeks, with the upgrades to be ready for the new season in 2022.
President of Diamond Valley United, Mark O’Shea, explained the growth of the female side of the game at the club helped the cause for the eventual upgrades to the clubrooms.
“The overall push for female facilities was pretty much driven by the local Banyule Council,” O’Shea told Soccerscene.
“The team at Banyule Council came down to speak with us, and asked what we needed as a club around 3-4 years ago. At that time, new changerooms were our number one priority, alongside other facilities which needed to be upgraded.
“Four years ago, we had one female team, but now we have around seven – so I guess the growth over time on the female side of the club drove the council to take action and get the clubrooms upgraded.”
O’Shea believes the upgrades will have a huge benefit for females involved in the club, who don’t feel comfortable in using the amenities currently.
“The changerooms we have been using are about 35 years old and aren’t really female friendly at all,” he said.
“So, we are turning our changerooms from two into four.
“It allows us to have much more appropriate female friendly facilities. They are all currently old-school open showers and females can’t shower there and use the changeroom properly.
“Having the four changerooms will allow us to cope with the number of teams we have on the female side, but also they will be great spaces for everyone at our club.”
The hope is that the new facilities will create new opportunities for the club to further connect with the wider community.
“We share our club with schools and other groups, so having those female friendly facilities opens up some new avenues for us to share our facilities with new community groups and schools,” O’Shea said.
The pandemic has affected the club in recent times, like most sporting organisations across Australia, but a strong rebound is expected according to the club president.
“There’s no way we could afford to do the upgrades ourselves, COVID has had a massive effect on all sporting groups in the last two years,” he said.
“Our numbers have gone down around 30-40% when it comes to juniors, but in saying that we do expect a big bounce back from a lot of kids at the other side of the pandemic.
“I think parents are keen to get kids out of their homes and off their iPads. Having those facilities at our club will also allow us to take on another 5 or 6 more female teams, which is fantastic.”
Alongside the new clubrooms, further upgrades will look to leave Diamond Valley United in good stead in the long term.
“We’ve been working with council and we are looking to do a lighting upgrade which is due for the next financial year,” O’Shea said.
“Following that, we are getting our ground reconfigured and resurfaced. These upgrades will be great for the future of our club.”