Crystal Brook’s grassroots boost

AS the siren sounded to kick off the 2020 football season in Crystal Brook on Saturday, there was added reason to celebrate, with news of a $216,500 funding boost to upgrade the oval precinct.

The good news came through round three of the State Government’s Grassroots Football, Cricket and Netball Facility Program.

Crystal Brook will see a new unisex change room facility including umpire and medical rooms, canteen facilities, and flood lighting for the netball courts installed.

The $500,000 project has also been supported with $265, 000 funding through the Port Pirie Regional Council, and Crystal Brook Football Club president Ian Lambert said it would be a huge boost to sport and the community.

“We’ve got women’s footy here which has been hugely successful – we have 200 girls playing there on Friday nights in the summer and now they will have a suitable area to change,” he said.

“There’s also cricket, the lights on the netball courts – hopefully it might mean we can have some night games now – and it will also be beneficial for our show.

“It’s certainly been well-received in Crystal Brook. It’s been in the pipeline for a few years now, but all good things are worth waiting for.

“Our facilities here are fairly good and this will put the icing on the cake.”

The round three funding announcement was brought forward as part of a stimulus package to help sporting clubs recover from the impacts of COVID-19, and will see 15 clubs across the state share in $5 million of government funding – matched by councils.

In all, 55 eligible applications were received in round three with each assessed for strategic justification by the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) and Netball SA.

Minister for Recreation Sport and Racing Corey Wingard said the Grassroots program provided a significant boost to the state.

“We’d love to give money to everyone but unfortunately that’s not possible,” he said.

“I’d like to thank SANFL, SACA and Netball SA for the effort they put into helping clubs pull together their proposals.

“The program’s co-contribution model means the Government’s $5m investment will lead to the delivery of projects worth more than $16m.

“By working with councils and the sporting codes, through rounds one, two and three we’ve been able to turn $15m of taxpayers money into nearly $60m worth of projects – an amazing achievement that benefits thousands of South Aussies.

“The program also gives SA’s construction industry a major boost by supporting more than 240 jobs.”

SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson said collaboration between football, cricket and netball – which often shared facilities – was vital.

“SANFL’s audit of facilities in SA highlighted football shares 87 per cent of its facilities with cricket clubs and 57pc with netball so it makes sense these sports would work together on improving facilities to increase participation and inclusion,” Mr Parkinson said.

“The Grassroots Program, which included $1m each from football and cricket, has seen 48 projects worth a combined $59.9m approved in its two years of operation across South Australia.

“Additionally, a further 15 other sports have benefited directly from this facility funding investment, including soccer, tennis, basketball, hockey and baseball.”

Clubs and councils who apply are required to contribute at least 50pc of the project costs and are encouraged to work with the Office for Recreation & Sport, SANFL, SACA and/or Netball SA to produce an application which meets the approved guidelines, assessment criteria and objectives of the program.