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Phillip Island Breakers SC to benefit from funding for female-friendly facilities

The Phillip Island Breakers Soccer Club have been the beneficiaries of a funding grant from the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund, upgrading their pavilion at Newhaven Reserve to make it more female friendly.

The club have received around $400,000 in funding from the state government, a significant portion of the $3.8 million the Andrews Government has handed out to 11 community football infrastructure projects since May of this year.

Alongside this, the Bass Coast Shire Council have also financially contributed to the project and played a major role in convincing the government to hand over the funding grant to the club.

“We were selected because of the council’s work; we went to them (Bass Strait Shire Council) and they put the grant application in,” Phillip Island Breakers SC president, Andrea Dempsey, told Soccerscene.

“They were successful last year with another club in the council and they decided to apply for the female friendly facilities at our club because they were needed. It was a thing that we actually had identified well before, that we really needed.”

Under the details of the redevelopments, the club’s changing room space will be expanded considerably, according to Dempsey.

“It will be expanded in a way that will eventually leave the building with four main spaces,” she said.

“We’ll have two big dividable rooms, so we can have two female and two male changerooms with both of them having access to showers and toilets.”

The Phillip Island Breakers SC president is excited for the benefits that are set to coincide with the upgrades, with building set to begin later this year.

“The plan has already been drawn up; Building has to commence by the end of the year – so hopefully in the coming months a bit of work has been done,” she said.

“It’s just so good that we are getting female friendly facilities, we have got more and more girls coming to the club and that was the one thing that we were lacking.

“There wasn’t enough space or very minimal space for the women to change into.

“There was no privacy for the showers for example, it wasn’t female friendly at all. So, hopefully this will allow for more opportunities for women to join the club and feel welcome in an inclusive environment.”

The club itself was founded 27 years ago as an indoor soccer club before transitioning to an outdoor outfit playing its matches in the local Gippsland Soccer League, after moving from the Bayside Soccer League many years ago.

Team ages range from seniors to under 6’s, both boys and girls, with the club hosting over 170 playing members.

According to Dempsey, a push for further upgrades at the club will be pursued in due time to take the club to the next level.

“Yeah we’ll try to (to get more funding for upgrades), everyone always is, aren’t they?

“The next thing we are going to possibly look for is tin shelters on our pitch for those out in the wet weather in winter.

“At the moment we don’t have any protection for teams and those people on the sidelines, so that’s what we will try for next, but for now we are looking forward to the pavilion works.”

Since 2018, the World Game Facilities Fund has invested $13.2 million in 48 football infrastructure projects across Victoria, with an overall value of more than $41 million.

“Better sport and recreation facilities make it easier for Victorians to get active and lead healthy lifestyles,” said Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence.

“We’re providing clubs with support for really important projects that will make the world of difference for local communities.”

Football Victoria CEO, Kimon Taliadoros, said of the fund: “Football breaks down barriers and brings communities together – we’re delighted to see even more clubs being able to meet community demand through the latest round of the World Game Facilities Fund.”

The next round of applications for the World Game Facilities Fund will be open next month, for more information visit the link here.

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.

North Sunshine Eagles FC to move into $8.4 million facility

North Sunshine Eagles FC’s entire junior setup will be based out of More Park in 2022, a newly redeveloped $8.4 million facility in Ardeer.

The facility itself, amongst other things, has two full size rectangular pitches, a 21x12m fully enclosed futsal court, a mini pitch (suitable for miniroos), competition standard (200 lux) lighting, four female-friendly changerooms as well as a fully accessible sports pavilion, community social room and expanded carpark.

The club, which has continued to grow its number of registered players over multiple years, has been working with the local Brimbank City Council for a while to move on its juniors from previous homes of Bon Thomas Reserve and Lloyd Reserve.

“Over the years, we’ve been developing and expanding the club to a stage where we couldn’t continue with the levels of kids we were having at these facilities,” President of North Sunshine Eagles FC, Memet Selimi, told Soccerscene.

Selimi explained that the competition for use of the facility was hotly contested, but the club’s strong work in the area, particularly in engaging migrant communities was heavily favoured by the local council.

“We put forward a very solid application for the facility,” he said.

“Ultimately, there were several other big clubs that had applied for the position as well.

“The facility itself was traditionally a softball facility, but it never had a winter tenant – so it was pretty much always just used in the summer time and there was a big space to fill.

“Clearly, council established that there was capacity here, they wanted a winter tenant and they found us to be the most suitable candidate.

“It’s been a bit of a process, but we’re really excited about the idea of being there now for the start of next season.”

The club’s senior setup is set to remain at their home base of 30 years at Larissa Reserve in St Albans, however, Selimi revealed competitive senior matches may be played due to the improved lighting setup at More Park.

“We are looking at engaging in the possibility of playing night matches, once we run it past Football Victoria for approval,” he said.

“We will look at matches at night that will generate numbers and logistically be easy to deal with.

“Ultimately, Larissa will continue to be our home base for the seniors, but More Park will hopefully host a number of senior matches in the future.”

The club, which has a strong history going back over 50 years, are set to benefit in a multitude of ways from moving to the new facility, as is the local community – according to Selimi.

“It’s a great facility, it’s got everything we need,” he said.

“Its’s unique as well, for example, it’s got a really cool caged football setup – which is exactly something you would see in Europe or South America. It will develop a player’s skills at a much more intricate level.

“We want to grow football within the female community and engage as much as possible. We feel it’s an incredible opportunity for the club and we have grown those junior female numbers over the past few years at an exponential rate. With the new facilities we can continue to do that, with the grounds, the increased capacities and the changerooms which cater for females.

“Overall, from a footballing and club perspective, it’s going to allow us to expand our juniors, our women’s football and just create a better environment for everyone.

“From a community standpoint, it will also allow us to connect with the local migrant demographics we are trying to engage and really just try to provide an affordable option for people in the area. It’s unfair for a talent to miss out on possibilities because clubs are charging $2000 a season; we charge much less and work with individuals on things like payment plans, or trying to sponsor them, as well as other combinations as a club to make sure they don’t miss out on these chances.”

The club is extremely grateful for the improved setup at More Park for its juniors and hopes a few facility tweaks at Larissa Reserve will round out the good news.

“It will be incredible if we could seek out some funding for Larissa in regards to an upgraded carpark and lighting, but beyond that we can’t really complain,” Selimi said.

“What we’ve received up to this point is fantastic and it’s really up to us now to take it, run with it and grow our club even further – which would be great.”

Moorabool Shire Council gets indoor stadium to tender stage

Futsal

The Moorabool Shire Council is going out for tender this week for construction of a multipurpose indoor stadium in Bacchus Marsh, as part of the Taverner St Sports Precinct development.

The project will include the development of four sports courts, multipurpose meeting rooms, an administration office, toilets and change facilities (including accessible change), a cafeteria, car park and road entry, accessible shared pathways and landscaping.

Mayor Cr Tom Sullivan is excited to have this multi-million-dollar project at tender stage.

“We’re very excited to deliver this much-needed stadium, part of a much larger investment in sport and recreation in Moorabool to cater for our population growth,” he said.

“The stadium will have four indoor courts which is enough to meet our current shortfalls and will encourage participants from a variety of sports, including basketball, netball, volleyball and futsal (indoor soccer).

“Existing sports will be able to expand their competitions and more residents will be able to participate in sports locally rather than have to travel out of the Shire to play, which is really important to our community.”

Council has set aside funding for the project in this year’s Budget, and the Victorian Government has contributed $1.9 million through the Local Sports Infrastructure Better Indoor Stadiums grant program.

Wayne Slack, Bacchus Marsh Basketball Association (BMBA) President:

“The BMBA Community is extremely excited about the opportunities that new state of the art facilities will bring for Basketball in our region, including the capacity to simply ensure more players can play in our many competitions, whilst also meeting the growing community needs that come with the general population growth expectations within the Moorabool Community.

“As an Association, we have grown well beyond the capacity available with the existing basketball facilities available to the BMBA, so we are excited that the new (4) court facility will enable increased volumes for training, playing and also representative basketball, whilst ensuring the very best in game day conditions for all senior and junior players, coaches and spectators alike.

“The BMBA Committee is heavily focused at present on increasing female participation, whilst also increasing overall accessible and inclusive basketball programs within the Bacchus Marsh region for everyone and we know that with this pending increase in court availability our Association members, our local Clubs and everybody else involved in Basketball, will see the growth in the numbers playing basketball which will in turn support the entire Bacchus Marsh community in general.

“Finally, and on behalf of all our members, we now look forward to the first dig at the site, to formally get it all happening.”

Andrew Burr, Bacchus Marsh Netball Association:

“The association is excited to see the achievement of this key milestone for the new indoor stadium, especially during these challenging times and we look forward to construction starting as soon as possible.

“The new Bacchus Marsh indoor stadium will be a welcome addition to the sports facilities in the town and will contribute to the growth in our sport.  Having access to a high-class stadium will enable us to attract more participants across all age groups and help showcase netball to the Bacchus Marsh community.”

Steve McGhie, State Member for Melton:

“The new indoor sports centre will cater for greater participation and provide state of the art facilities for kids to get involved in their local sporting teams.”

Michaela Settle, State Member for Buninyong:

“Our $1.9 million investment in Bacchus will help build a new four court indoor stadium for our region, keeping our community active and engaged in local sports.”

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