Northern Falcons Football Club will receive a substantial lighting upgrade at their home ground in Preston, through a grant received from the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund.
President of the Northern Falcons Football Club, Frank Pizzo, explained the process behind the club’s push to secure the funding.
“We were advised of the grants being available by our local Darebin council,” he told Soccerscene.
“We were discussing with the council (along with Darebin Falcons Women’s Football Club – who we share the facility with) for quite a number of months about how we could get the lighting upgrades. Both clubs were screaming for extra training and facility space for our players.
“There are currently no lights at that facility, so during the winter you can’t train on it. It just doesn’t get the use we could get out of it.
“The council eventually said put in a proposal with the World Game Facilities Fund and see how we go with that, so we started that process with their help and the rest is history.”
The works are set to begin next month according to Pizzo, with a completion date of March of next year.
He believes the upgrades will have a whole range of benefits for not only the club, but also the local community.
“The benefits are going to be amazing,” he said.
“To put it into context, we probably knocked back in excess of 80 kids last year – boys and girls, who we couldn’t accommodate at our main venue.
“There are just no other venues available, so basically the kids weren’t able to play. The massive benefit is that we can get more kids to play the game we love.
“We are also now looking to use the revamped facility as a base for our intellectually disabled team. Currently, that team trains on Tuesday night in a little area on the pitch, which is not really enough.
“We’re now going to be able to give them the facilities they need. A safe facility with recently renovated clubrooms, but now also a pitch with good lighting to train on.
“In terms of the community, they will be able to use the facility as well – it is not just our ground, it is a community facility. There will be a spill over of football activities and other activities at the ground such as cricket. For the community, it’s great for them that they have access to a facility on a 24-hours a day, seven days a week basis.”
The club itself has a strong history and reputation in the local area, something which Pizzo himself has been a huge part of.
“I’ve been involved in the club since its inception in the late 80’s,” he said.
“I was a player at the club, then an administrator, a coach, and I’ve been president for the last 10 years. I’ve got a really strong emotional attachment to the club; my dad was one of the founders of the club. My involvement as president is a fairly consuming, but rewarding role.
“The club has grown in the past five years, from just having seniors and a couple of junior teams, to having 21 junior teams including five women’s teams. It’s grown from being a club with 200 members to a club with 550-600 members, it’s a massive job but I love it.”
The club wants to continue its growth and hopes further pitch redevelopments at its home sites will help with that.
“We would like to have a pitch redevelopment at GH Mott Reserve and we’ve had discussions with council about that already,” he said.
“At our main reserve at Hayes Park, we would love to have some sort of artificial pitch put in there somewhere and we hope we can continue having positive discussions across the board to reach both of these outcomes.”