VCFL Article - CFNP EXTENDED FOR 5 YEARS

As you enjoy the finals atmosphere at the footy and netball today, take a moment to look at the facilities needed to put on the show. Notice the rooms needed for players to change, the playing field/court itself, the scoreboard, interchange and timekeeper facilities, social rooms, lights, posts and a large range of other necessary items. Many of these required facilities and infrastructure are in good shape; others are projects awaiting redevelopment or refurbishment. It is a costly exercise for these to be developed and then maintained and volunteers at clubs need some support to enable such facilities to reach their highest standard. Thankfully, the past five years has seen an unprecedented improvement in such facilities thanks to the Country Football Netball Program (CFNP). As of September 2010, close to 300 projects throughout regional and rural Victoria will have been allocated CFNP funding to the value of approximately $11.2 million with a combined project cost nearing $30 million! The CFNP was established in 2005 following a recommendation stemming from the Parliamentary Rural, Regional Services and Development Committee Inquiry into Country Football. Administered by Sport and Recreation Victoria, it has been an unmitigated success, due largely to the partnerships it has leveraged between local and state government and football and netball authorities, allowing volunteers at club level an opportunity and funding to implement some often long-held great ideas to improve their precinct. The Victorian State Government recently committed an additional $9 million to the CFNP through its Ready for Tomorrow: A Blueprint for Regional and Rural Victoria. This $9 million will grow to more than $10 million thanks to co contributions from the WorkSafe VCFL, the AFL and Netball Victoria and extends the CFNP for another 5 years. This is fabulous news of which the WorkSafe VCFL is extremely pleased and we again extend our appreciation to the State Government and the AFL for making the program possible. This extends the CFNP until the 2014/15 financial year and applications are now open (see link at our website www.vcfl.com.au for further information). Grants of up to $100,000 are possible to any one project, but keep in mind that an average grant is around $35,000. Clubs or umpiring groups need to first express their interest to their local Council on the CFNP Expression of Interest form and then Council can lodge an application if and when they are convinced of the project’s merit. CFNP funded projects generally include: • Modifying existing football or netball club pavilions/facilities to improve usage and access; • Development or upgrading football playing fields; • Development or upgrading of netball courts; and • Development or upgrading of lighting facilities. We have noticed some wonderful examples of projects, such as ground and water supply upgrades that drought-proof the surface, lighting to allow night football, better umpire facilities to cater for both genders, and many innovative change and social room improvements that help improve participation both on the field and between all people after on-field competition is over. An evaluation of more than 100 funded projects found that almost all CFNP projects assisted participation growth and made clubs more viable. Most also help the local economy and assisted club volunteers. The CFNP has also funded five premier regional venues to develop the basic amenities required to prepare venues to host future AFL preseason fixtures or, in some cases, to develop a premier quality regional venue for local fixtures. Venues funded to this level so far include Morwell, Shepparton, Ballarat, Horsham and Wangaratta. Other venues are expected to be invited in the coming years to help them reach similar status. The best projects seem to occur after some really good forward planning, such as the undertaking of a site master plan. Venues that do this not only have a much greater chance of attracting grants, but also end up with a venue that seems to have all facilities they need, in the right spot and at the right standard. If you remember just three words regarding facility planning and development, we believe they should be PLANNING, PARTNERSHIPS and PARTICIPATION. Take some time to get the PLANNING right first, ensure you are PARTNERING up well with your local Council and others, and focus on seeking funding for those facility improvements that will best impact PARTICIPATION levels at the venue, whether that be on-field or off. If you need advice or assistance regarding football facility planning and development, please do not hesitate to contact your respective Area Manager or our Planning, Facilities and Junior Football Manager Shayne Ward on (03) 8663 3060 to help you and your club develop your ideas into tangible improvements. The WorkSafe VCFL are committed to improving all aspects of facilities, grounds, courts, etc to ensure our sports continue to be first of mind for those aspiring to be involved both on and off the field. Good luck to all involved in today’s Grand Finals and lead-up finals and we feel for all Leagues and Clubs seriously affected by the current flooding crisis. Best Regards, Glenn Scott Chief Executive Officer WorkSafe Victorian Country Football League


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