By Kyra Gillespie
Drouin Dragons Soccer Club now has access to upgraded, extended and female-friendly change rooms and amenities thanks to a $195,000 facility upgrade project.
The project was officially opened on Sunday 15 July by Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Joe Gauci, life member and contracted builder Jeff Kittelty and club president Jason Beer with a ribbon cutting ceremony ahead of the women’s match against the Phillip Island Breakers.
Also in attendance was Cr Keith Cook, Cr Jessica O’Donnell and key representatives and supporters of the Drouin Dragons Soccer Club.
The project includes new female friendly change rooms, showers and toilets, a new dedicated first aid room and extended change rooms for umpires.
Additionally, all entry points, car parking and facilities within the club rooms have been upgraded in line with Universal Design Principles, enabling participation for people of all abilities.
The project has been joint-funded by a $50,000 contribution from council, $45,000 from funds raised by the the Drouin Dragons Soccer Club and a $100,000 grant from the Victorian Government’s Female Friendly Facilities Fund through Sport and Recreation Victoria.
“Before the upgrades the club rooms and amenities were small, outdated and did not cater for female umpires and players,” Baw Baw Shire Mayor Cr Gauci said.
“We strongly believe everyone should have access to inclusive sporting facilities where they feel comfortable and empowered to play regardless of gender, age and ability.
“We know this project will help increase female and male participation rates and see the club into a successful future. It has already been noted that many of the junior members have enjoyed the privacy and layout of this fine facility.”
The Mayor also acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the Drouin Dragons Soccer Club who raised $45,000 over a period of 10-15 years to assist with the project.
“We thank the club members and supporters for their support, most of which is in a voluntary capacity.
“It’s through our partnerships that we can achieve important upgrades to grassroots infrastructure and we thank all partners for their contributions.”
Minister for Sport Jon Eren MP was unable to attend but stated the project was part of the Victorian Government’s strong commitment to sports and active recreation, and to encourage women and girls to get out there and get active.