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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.

Major parties support lighting upgrade at Thornton’s Allan and Don Lawrence Field

Thornton Junior Football Club is expected to receive new lighting after Labor and Liberal candidates for Paterson signalled funding if elected on May 21.

Allan and Don Lawrence Field needs new lights installed to increase Friday night competition and mid-week training opportunities.

Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson championed the opportunity if Labor is elected.

“You have my commitment that I am going to be taking this request, from this club, and others forward to the October budget if we are elected under an Albanese Government, to make sure that we do upgrade the lights here,” Swanson told Northern NSW Football.

Liberal candidate for Paterson Brooke Vitnell is equally confident of a funding outcome for Thornton Junior Football Club.

“I’m going to be rattling the can around if I’m given the great opportunity to represent this community in two weeks’ time. I’ll be hunting for funding for organisations just like this and I’m pretty darn determined and pretty good at what I do too,” Vitnell told Northern NSW Football.

Increasing participation opportunities, particularly for women and girls, is central to any funding commitment from the major parties. A cash injection will come off the back of lobbying from Northern NSW Football’s #EQUALISER campaign.

Northern NSW Football CEO David Eland outlined only 25 per cent of football facilities in Paterson are regarded as being female friendly.

“As Australia’s largest team participation sport, the football community has asked government to deliver an equaliser for women and girls’ football ahead of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand,” Eland told Northern NSW Football.

Thornton Junior Football Club is thriving with 500 participants, including more than 100 females.

“We have experienced 45 per cent growth in players over the last five years and installing new lights at our home ground will increase our capacity to provide positive football experiences and get more girls playing,” Thornton Junior FC club secretary Kristen Birkett told Northern NSW Football.

“Thanks to both Meryl and Brooke from the Labor and Liberal parties for their commitment to our community and getting more girls active.”

NNSWF Community Football Manager Ross Hicks said the #EQUALISER campaign was designed to support grassroots football to deliver new, or improved, female-friendly facilities through direct engagement with the government during the 2022 federal election.

“A Football Australia audit of 3,000 facilities showed only 35 per cent are female friendly. We agree this needs to change if we want to hit our goal of 35 per cent female participation by 2023. With a home World Cup next year, now is the time for the upgrade,” Hicks told Northern NSW Football.

The $150,000 project has been approved and costed by Maitland City Council.

This week’s football funding news ahead of election

As the Australian federal election approaches, promises of football funding are being rolled out across the country.

Soccerscene breaks down all the funding news of the past week to keep you up to date on who is investing what into our industry.

It was all about Tasmania, as both major parties made major commitments across the state in the lead in to the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Labor

Lightwood Park in Kingborough, Hobart was promised a $3 million boost by Federal Labor if elected, reinforcing current developments already underway.

The venue had already been given $6 million of funding from the State Liberal government in May 2021, with both major parties investing heavily in football in Tasmania.

Kingborough Lions United Football Club (KLUFC) has confirmed details of a new $6 million changeroom and clubrooms complex at Lightwood Park.

This new round of funding hopes to see the ground and its facilities become a hub for the Women’s World Cup, with players training out of it.

It was announced by Julie Collins, MP for Franklin.

Liberal

The Morrison government announced $2.3 million commitments towards upgrades to Seymour St Park to Brighton, Tasmania, if re-elected.

The announcement, made by Liberal candidate for Lyons Susie Bower, guarantees a significant rejuvenation of Brighton Storm’s home ground can take place.

Similarly to Lightwood Park, the park has also been promised funding from both major parties. Federal Labor also promised $2.3 million, to build two full-size pitches, lighting, clubrooms and additional facilities.

The State Government opened the beginnings of upgrades to Devonport’s Valley Road Ground, as a part of its $10 million commitment to four venues across the state.

Meanwhile in New South Wales, as a continued part of the state’s flood recovery effort, the NSW Government announced a further $55 million Sport Infrastructure Recovery Fund to help flood-impacted sporting organisations get back on their feet.

Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres and Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke were both present at the announcement.

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