By Gabriella Payne
The Officer City Football Club are hoping to see more women and girls kick some goals and take to the field in the near future, after receiving a helping hand from the state government to promote gender equality in local sport.
The club was selected as one of the 86 community sporting organisations across the state that are set to receive the funding, as part of the government’s ‘Change Our Game’ initiative, which funds more than $430,000 worth of grants statewide.
The Officer City Football Club (or soccer club) will receive a $6,500 grant to help bring together representatives from local sporting communities to share ideas, showcase achievements and brainstorm ways of improving female participation at the club.
Along with assistance from the Cardinia Shire Council, the club will also organise presentations from some inspirational female leaders in sport who will help promote best practices for inclusion, while simultaneously empowering clubs to improve gender equality.
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale pulled on her soccer boots and stopped by the local club (before lockdown) to congratulate the coaches and players on this welcome funding boost.
Ms Crugnale said it was great to see the football club, along with the Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club, be selected as recipients of this program.
“Such great news for the Officer City Football Club and Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club – congratulations to both clubs for their commitment and passion to being leaders in our community,” Ms Crugnale said.
“I look forward to seeing even more women and girls in our community get active and involved in grassroots sport.”
This round of the ‘Change Our Game Community Activation Grant’ scheme saw a record-breaking number of clubs apply across the state – with more than $1.1 million worth of submissions registered.
The director of the office for women in sport and recreation, Sarah Styles, said that the incredible amount of interest the scheme had seen just went to show how important and needed gender equality promotion is for community sporting clubs in Victoria.
“The record-breaking demand for the ‘Change Our Game Community Activation Grants’ is some of the strongest evidence yet of the wholesale support for gender equality in community sport across Victoria,” she said.
Successful grants in this round range from come-and-try days and leadership workshops, through to gala dinners and awards nights, all designed to inspire the next generation of leaders in sport and active recreation.
The Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence, said that it was great to see such an important message inspire the next generation of female sporting stars.
“Community sport plays a vital role in uniting our communities and driving positive social change. The Change Our Game initiative is providing opportunities for Victorian women and girls to lead on and off the field.”