Waverley City Soccer Club boosted by significant funding from the Victorian Government  

Waverley City Soccer Club have received a $125,000 funding boost in the form of new and improved competition grade lighting, through the Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund.

The installation of the state-of-the-art LED lighting at the club’s home ground at Milpera Reserve in Wantirna coincides with recent upgrades currently in progress at the facility, which includes the implementation of a new playing surface, irrigation system, fencing and goals.

Club president Kevin Tan explained to Soccerscene that the range of upgrades are extremely beneficial for the club.

“For us specifically, it’s fantastic that we now have the ability to train and play night games sporadically in the same location,” he said.

“Before this, we had to move our training sessions to a different ground and play games here.

“Being able to train at the ground you play may seem like a small thing but for us it saves us so much money. There are also other benefits such as having the juniors and seniors training together, so the juniors and seniors now see each other and interact – which is great for building a culture in the club.”

The club was formed in 2007 on the back of a group of mates who were looking to play games of football together on the weekends.

Since then, the club has expanded significantly with 172 members, fielding four senior men’s teams, two senior women’s teams and six junior teams.

The local community have played a huge role in the progress of the club and according to Tan, the new upgrades are for all to enjoy.

“In regards to our affiliation with the area, we want be more visible in the community; we can hold events and things like that to get to know our neighbours a bit more,” he said.

“The wider community can obviously use it, importantly it’s for them as well.

“Some of the early feedback we’ve received from members around the community is that they love the ability to walk around Milpera at night now.

“Previously there was no lights at all, so if they want to go for a walk at night in the area while we train, they can, and have, which is really good.”

Lisa Cooper, Mayor and Councillor of Knox City Council, spoke about the funding for the lighting upgrades: “There are so many new teams, and every team needs a suitable space to train and play. The Victorian Government’s World Game Facilities Fund is helping us keep up with growth in the sport locally.

“Training and match standard lighting enables more teams to train and play in the evening but it can be expensive, and the grants are helping us complete the upgrades more quickly than Council could find the budget for on our own.

“The LED lighting is energy-efficient and focuses the light on the pitch so it doesn’t spill into surrounding backyards,” Cooper concluded.

The funding boost has also been complemented by goodwill agreements with the local council, who have cancelled ground hire costs for Waverley City Soccer Club this season.

“Our council has been good with us; they’ve waived fees this season for ground fees,” Tan said.

“We’ve obviously had some financial struggles in the last year with Covid like a lot of clubs, so being able to save money while you can, is amazing for us.

“It is something that has allowed us to stabilise the club.”

In the near future, further upgrades are set for Milpera Reserve, including the introduction of portable change-rooms which will give the club the scope to eventually expand the number of boys’ and girls’ teams.

“It’s part of a 3-year plan which had been previously confirmed, but COVID has messed up the timeline a bit,” Tan said.

“Previously we had a really good chat with our former councillor Jackson Taylor and he was really big on improving our area’s sporting clubs (he eventually became a member of parliament for Bayswater) and really helped a lot with getting our grants sorted for us.

“The lights were meant to be done in the last year, but nothing really got done in 2020 because of the pandemic. I’m now not actually sure of what the rest of the timeline is, but I do believe they (portable change-rooms) are guaranteed for some time in the future, which is definitely exciting for us.”

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.

Manningham United Blues FC boosted by $300,000 grant for LED lighting upgrades

Manningham United Blues FC have received a $300,000 funding grant which will be used for lighting upgrades at the club’s home at Timber Ridge Reserve.

The funding has been provided through a partnership between the local Manningham Council and the Victorian Government, through their World Game Facilities Fund.

The upgrades will see a new 50 LUX LED floodlight system installed at the ground in the coming months, consisting of 4 new LED lighting towers which will light up two full size pitches and a small side pitch at the reserve.

President of Manningham United Blues FC, Mark Giuliani, believes the new upgrades will have a positive impact on the local community.

“Looking at the wider community, the new system will have a significant effect in reducing the lighting-up of neighbouring backyards,” he told Soccerscene.

“Obviously, the lighting system we have now is pretty old and it just sprays light everywhere, whereas LED lighting is very accurate and precise.

“So, in terms of the local residents, that will be the number one benefit for them as they won’t have their backyards impacted.”

The club will also benefit significantly from the improved lighting system in the years to come.

“In terms of us, there’s numerous things I think we are going to benefit from,” Giuliani said.

“One main benefit is definitely the financial aspect, the system we have now is pretty old and each year we spend at least $1000 on globe replacements.

“The running costs will also be better off now that the lights are LED and this will be an important financial gain for us.

“On top of that, we will definitely get a much more even spread and better lighting on that facility now, rather than what we’ve got in the past.”

Giuliani explained that under the new lights, night games will soon be allowed to be hosted at the club’s home ground, which hasn’t been permitted in the past.

This, however, will only apply up to a certain competition grade and will depend on the LUX it will provide.

“We were offered the option to chip in some extra funding to bring it up to a certain LUX for NPL games, but at the moment the club is not in a financial position to make that extra investment,” he said.

“It is however NPL ready, so all the wirings and powering, the lighting towers, the fixtures up in the towers, they will all be ready if we want to upgrade to host NPL games.”

The senior male team currently competes in NPL2 after securing promotion to the NPL system in recent years.

Manningham itself, has a strong, yet relatively recent history. After humble beginnings in 1999 with only a few junior teams initially, the club merged with Fawkner Blues SC in recent years and now has 39 teams and around 2000 members.

The club has now become the biggest community club in Manningham through factors such as their female program, which continues to expand across the board.

Facilities have been key to their growth and alongside the announcement of the new lighting setup, the club has received recent clubroom upgrades at Timber Ridge Reserve, through funding from the local council.

“We have also just had a recent upgrade to our Timber Ridge Reserve, in terms of our clubrooms – it was a $300,000 upgrade which was funded through Manningham Council, which we are extremely thankful for,” Giuliani said.

Since 2018, the World Game Facilities Fund has invested $13.2 million in 48 game-changing infrastructure projects with a total value of more than $41 million. The next round of the World Game Facilities Fund will open for applications in August 2021.

For more information visit: sport.vic.gov.au/grants-and-funding/our-grants/world-game-facilities-fund

Referee Recognition Week underway for Northern NSW Football

Beginning Monday July 19 and ending Sunday July 25, Northern NSW Football’s Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week is dedicated to advocating for respect of match officials.

Motivated by the sole aim of providing the football community with the chance to express their gratitude and appreciation for referees and their assistants, Referee Recognition Week is NNSW Football’s annual celebration of match officials.

In addition, the week also acts as a reminder that match officials are intrinsic members of the football community who are to be respected by players, coaches, volunteers and supporters.

Referee weekNNSW Football Head of Football Development Peter Haynes explains that the initiative, which is planned alongside NNSW Football’s long-term community partner Newcastle Permanent, aimed to put a spotlight on the contributions of match officials across Northern NSW whilst encouraging members of the football community to demonstrate their appreciation.

“Officiating a match is often a thankless task. But without our referees we wouldn’t be able to play our beautiful game,” Haynes said.

“Referees and assistant referees play a key role in not just allowing players to go out and play but also keeping our players safe. Then there are our referee assessors and coaches who are also such a vital part of our sport as they help teach and educate our referees of the future.

“We encourage all our members to show their respect and appreciation towards our referees during the week, particularly thanking them for their efforts in ensuring a safe environment, underlined by a sense of fair play, for everyone.”

Newcastle Permanent supports match officials throughout the season through its monthly Community Recognition Awards Program, where a referee from each of Northern NSW Football’s seven Member Zones are recognised for their outstanding contribution.

Newcastle Permanent’s Chief Customer Experience and Delivery Officer Paul Juergens adds that continued recognition of match officials is a step in the right direction to respecting them for the work they do.

“We know referees and match officials play a vital role in community football,” Juergens said.

“They’re not only responsible for keeping players safe and making sure the rules of the game are followed but they also help create a great experience for players and spectators.

“Newcastle Permanent is proud to shine a light on their importance and contribution through our monthly Community Recognition Awards program. And this week, as part of our annual Referee Recognition Week campaign, we invite the football community to join in and say thanks.”

Northern NSW Football will acknowledge referees throughout the week at northernnswfootball.com.au and through its social media channels.

Casey Comets treated to new female friendly pavilion facilities

A brand new female friendly pavilion has been completed at the home of Casey Comets, made possible by Victorian Government grants.

Situated in the heart of Cranbourne, the upgrade is part of a $954,000 investment to create two additional female friendly changerooms at the existing soccer pavilion, which has two cubicle showers, two cubicle toilets and two basins for each changeroom.

The upgrades also feature the construction of a female friendly referee room, that includes changeroom space, cubicle shower, cubicle toilet, one basin and an additional storeroom.

The project also saw four existing changerooms undergo a major refurbishment to create more female friendly spaces.

Other current facilities, including the referee change room, storerooms, community room, male and female toilets and baby change room were also renovated, while LED lighting was installed in and around the spaces.

The participation rate in Cranbourne and its surrounding suburbs have seen significant growth over many years, with these latest updates a positive step to match this demand.

City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff acknowledged how essential the upgrades were for the community, which will further increase women’s participation in sport.

“I am very proud to deliver these facilities and hope it encourages even more local women and girls to get involved with their local sporting club,” Duff said.

“I look forward to hearing about the positive impact this space has on the Casey Comets Football Club, the facility’s other user groups and the broader Cranbourne community, over the years to come.”

The project demonstrates Council’s commitment to putting the community at the forefront of future planning. The funding was delivered in partnership between the City of Casey and the Victorian Government, who contributed a total of $250,000 from the Female Friendly Facilities Fund, with Council’s own contribution of $704,000.

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