Goal for female football

MARK: Minister John Eren meets East Point's Sabrina and Keisha with MP Geoff Howard, mayor Samantha McIntosh and MP Sharon Knight.
MARK: Minister John Eren meets East Point's Sabrina and Keisha with MP Geoff Howard, mayor Samantha McIntosh and MP Sharon Knight.

DILAPIDATED change rooms at White Flat will undergo a massive revamp in a bid to foster Ballarat’s booming female football rate.

Victorian Sport Minister John Eren, visiting the site on Monday, announcing a $288,000 cash splash on the region’s sporting infrastructure and clubs with $100,000 to help making White Flat more female sport-friendly.

The ground is home to the Dragons – East Point’s open and junior female football program – Golden Point Cricket Club, which boasts all-girl junior teams, Rebels youth girls football academy and all-abilities football team Ballarat Bulldogs.

Dragons footballers Sabrina, aged eight, and Keisha, nine, said football was fun and good exercise but it would be nice to have new change rooms for their team. Keisha watched Western Bulldogs’ AFL Women’s team train in Ballarat at the weekend and can hardly wait to get back on the field herself.

The Dragons will field five female teams in the Ballarat Football League next year, from under-12s to open and including the new under-15 division team. 

East Point’s Neville Kent said existing old rooms were the only major downside for a ground where the club was focused on creating a female football precinct. 

“We want it to be safe ...It will be an absolute sense of comfort for the girls, designed fit for purpose,” Mr Kent said. “For these age groups, football is about being involved, belonging to a club, and it’s a great social opportunity to make new friendships.”

Golden Point secretary John Ogilvie said Ballarat Cricket Association was extremely supporting in where it scheduled girl Pointies, who play against the boys in juniors, and as a White Flat co-tenant, the club welcomed any improvement to make girls comfortable.

The minister said everyone deserved equal facilities but too often, women and girls were left in the cold when it came time to change.

“For too long, women and girls have been an afterthought when it comes to grassroots sports facilities,” Mr Eren said. “We’re changing that.”

Mr Eren also announced $75,000 for improved, 110-lux lighting for Doug Dean Reserve in Delacombe. Home to Ballarat rugby and gridiron, the lighting will allow more training sessions in the evening, year-round, at the venue.

The government will also inject $100,000 into two new courts for the Warrenheip Multisport and Activity Hub. Courts will feature line markings for tennis, basketball and netball. This will be the new home for Warrenheip Tennis Club and Warrenheip Country Fire Authority.

Both projects are part of the government’s community sports infrastructure fund.

Meanwhile, nine Ballarat sporting clubs will also share in almost $13,000 under the latest round of sporting club grants programs:

  • Ballarat Basketball, $1000 for wheelchair basketball player uniforms
  • Ballarat District Golf, $1000 for uniforms
  • Ballarat Red Devils, $987 for footballs
  • Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club, $1000 for bicycles
  • Bobcats Hockey Club, $2650 for uniforms and coaching accreditation
  • Buninyong Soccer Club, $1000 for a new girls’ team uniforms
  • Mount Xavier Golf and Bowls Club, $1000 for bowls
  • Wendouree Cricket Club, $3000 for portable shade and coaching accreditation
  • Wildcats Basketball Club, $1000 for uniforms