FC Leopold boosted by $1.57 million facility upgrade project

FC Leopold are set to reap the rewards of a $1.57 million facility upgrade project at Estuary Reserve, the club’s home ground.

Funding provided by the City of Greater Geelong Council and the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund will enable the construction of a modular pavilion, which will include female friendly changerooms, as well as spaces for amenities, storage and social activities.

The Victorian Government will contribute $250,000 to the project with the remainder funded by the local council.

Co-founder of FC Leopold, Jared Larkins, was heavily involved the process of acquiring the grants needed to fund the proposal.

“For some time, we had been lobbying through various groups such as the City of Greater Geelong Council, as well as the local and federal members – to fund this project,” he told Soccerscene.

“We got out and attended our own drawings and we created plans to really envisage what we wanted the site to be.

“We really just kept on council’s back that we needed this upgrade as our club was ever-growing and our two-room facility just wasn’t fit for purpose for any of our members.

“When the World Game Facilities Fund came along it provided an opportunity for the City of Greater Geelong to get on board. They had another project in Geelong they wanted to make happen, so I think that also helped us significantly.”

Larkins is optimistic that barring any COVID related issues, FC Leopold members will be in their new digs before the end of 2022.

“We are hoping that site works begin in either September and October,” he said.

“We should be in them by the end of year, they are modular and being built off site and then they’ll drop them on site and they should be finished off within a couple of weeks.”

The club itself was established just five years ago in 2016, registering multiple senior men’s teams, a senior women’s side and a handful of junior teams.

Although it has a relatively short history, the club is set to be benefitted by the upgrades in a wide range of ways.

“In terms of the club, it will allow our younger members and female members a little bit more comfortability in changing and playing at the club,” Larkins said.

“The current facilities are not the friendliest or most inviting of spaces, and we did have some members who wouldn’t change at the club for that reason.

“I think it will make our club more inviting and allow us to hold functions, which is something we haven’t been able to do since our inception. That will obviously allow us to raise some more funds, as at the moment if we want to hold a function, we have to rent out another venue.

“It will also give the club a chance to generate revenue in general, through canteen revenue, various functions and things like that, and because of that hopefully the club can grow its membership base.”

FC Leopold wants to continue to engage with the community and believes the new facilities will provide the locals with an appropriate avenue to connect through sport.

“The area of Geelong and Leopold is growing quite rapidly and there’s soccer clubs fifteen minutes either side of where we are positioned, so it allows the local community a spot closer to home to be able to play and be active,” Larkins said.

The club has ambitions to grow further and expand in future years, but according to Larkins, that wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t receive these facility grants.

“I don’t think our club would have been able to grow further without it,” he said.

“Without these additional facilities, we would be capped at the number of teams we have now.

“We have already probably expanded too much for what we’ve got at the moment, in terms of things we own such as equipment (as we don’t have enough space to store it on site), so without these new facilities we wouldn’t grow.”



Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Giant boost for female sport as NSW Government commits $30 million

NSW Government - Level the Playing Fund

The NSW Government has confirmed that $30 million in funds for female sports facilities will be in its 2023-24 Budget.

Although the funding will seek to support several growing and established sports, the grant is likely to heavily support women’s football as a reward for the Matildas’ efforts in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

One of the key initiatives of the announcement is a new program labelled ‘Level the Playing Field’.

This fund will be intended to help develop sporting facilities both in building new facilities as well as upgrading existing ones.

Projects that have a particular focus in empowering women to participate in sports will be eligible and the State Government hopes that the fund will be a critical step in addressing gender disparity and inclusivity in sports.

The Level the Playing Field will be able to be directly accessed by grass roots sporting groups; helping to place the direction for development in the hands of those who know the sports the best.

Under this direct funding approach, the NSW Government is hoping that up to a 100 new and upgraded facilities will be delivered.

The Government is expecting that organisations that access the fund will use it to deliver fit-for-purpose facilities and amenities such as much needed change rooms, accessibility upgrades, and improved lighting.

For a long time, these have been clear barriers to entry for women’s sport and by empowering the organisations who have been fighting for these changes to make the upgrades themselves it shows a great respect and trust between community stakeholders the NSW Government.

The state’s governing body, Football NSW, has welcomed this announcement and sees it as a pivotal step in securing the future of Women’s Football that the Matildas showed is possible during their recent World Cup campaign.

Football NSW CEO John Tsatsimas expressed this in the governing bodie’s press release.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup was a game-changer for women’s football in Australia and New South Wales,” he said via press release.  

“We are thrilled to see the commitment of the Labor Government to further develop facilities that will empower women and girls to participate in our beloved sport. This investment aligns perfectly with our long-term vision for women’s football in NSW.

“Female friendly facilities are key component of attracting and retaining females in the game. We know that only 1 in 5 football amenity buildings across NSW are female friendly.”

Although this is a broad initiative it is clear that the program will be of pivotal importance to football in NSW and by extension Australia wide.

Football participation is strongest in NSW and by depoliticising the issue of investment in allowing direct stakeholder access, in contrast to the traditional model of waiting for code specific grants, the NSW government has shown that the paradigm is shifting.

By allowing those on the ground to dictate their own funding and to remove political or code-based bias this grant is showing that those sports that do have participation but perhaps have not be respectfully funded, such as football, may now in this new era flourish and begin to truly grow.

NSW Government Community Building Partnership 2023 round open now

NSW Government Community Building Partnership 2023

The NSW Government is investing in infrastructure projects that improve social, environmental and recreation outcomes, providing the community with participation and inclusion opportunities. With $27.9 million on offer, and a maximum of $300,000 per electorate, the NSW Government looks to improve opportunities for all NSW residents, both in metropolitan and regional areas.

The Community Building Partnership (CBP) program differs to what has been previously offered – click here to view the changes.

What’s new in the CBP 2023 round:

  • Projects over $30,000 must have quotes to verify project spending, this is also preferred for all projects under $30,000 but not necessary. Quotes must be of relevant time and location.
  • You must provide a detailed and itemised project budget for the full requested amount
  • Variations or changes to the project will only be approved in limited circumstances. Please ensure that your project can be delivered in scope and on time.

To be eligible for this program, you must fit one of the following criteria:

  • NSW association or non-distributing co-operatives registered with NSW Fair Trading
  • Local Aboriginal Land Councils or Indigenous corporations registered with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations
  • NSW local councils and their section 355 committees operating under the Local Government Act 1993. Local councils and their section 355 committees are required to provide matched funding to the CBP grant amount awarded
  • not-for-profit entities incorporated under an Act of Parliament
  • trusts that are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
  • public companies limited by guarantee.

The application must be submitted through SmartGrants, and under the organisations legal name and ABN (if applicable)

Examples of eligible organisations include:

  • Community group incorporated as a NSW Association – e.g. sporting body, multicultural group, community shed
  • Community group registered as a NSW Co-operative – e.g. country club, childcare co-op, golf club
  • Parents and Citizens Association (P&C Association) incorporated with the Federation of P&C Associations of NSW under the Parents & Citizens Association Act of 1976 No 50
  • Aboriginal organisation registered by the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) – e.g. preschool, health and welfare corporation
  • Public companies limited by guarantee

Organisations cannot apply on behalf of other organisations; these applications will be denied. Individuals and groups of individuals also are ineligible, as well as any for-profit organisations.

CBP will consider funding requests between $5,000 and $150,000 for projects in NSW. Please note that all relevant documentation for each application must be included, and any further documentation is recommended to expedite the application process. The following are some examples of projects that funding can be applied for:

  • Construction of new community infrastructure, or refurbishment, repair, and maintenance of existing infrastructure, this includes resurfacing sports courts, installation of shade structures, restoring buildings, accessibility equipment and public announcement systems
  • Purchase of vehicles or modification to existing vehicles
  • Projects that can be completed prior to 31 August 2025
  • Projects must only have one project location per application
  • If applications are to be made for both infrastructure and vehicles, these must be done separately with appropriate documentation.

Some of the following are examples of projects that can not be considered for the CBP:

  • Projects outside of NSW
  • Projects commencing prior to October 27, 2023
  • Projects that look to buy land, run workshops, cover operating costs.
  • Projects that already utilise other grant programs
  • Projects over $30,001 without appropriate documentation
  • Any application submitted after the deadline (27th October 2023).
  • Any application without a detailed and itemised budget

Whilst there is a lot to consider whether this program is suitable to your organisation, the information above should give a basic outline as to whether there are any upcoming projects for your organisation which could benefit from this scheme.

Applications are open now, and close on the October 27 2023 at 5pm AEST. Click here for more info.

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